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Environ Health Perspect. 2000 June; 108(6): 521–525.
PMCID: PMC1638154
Research Article

Biologic monitoring of exposure to organophosphorus pesticides in 195 Italian children.


One hundred ninety-five 6- to 7-year-old children who lived in the municipality of Siena (Tuscany, Italy), underwent biologic monitoring to evaluate urinary excretion of several alkylphosphates that are metabolites of organophosphorus pesticides. We evaluated dimethylphosphate (DMP), dimethylthiophosphate (DMTP), dimethyldithiophosphate (DMDTP), diethylphosphate (DEP), diethylthiophosphate (DETP), and diethyldithiophosphate (DEDTP). We obtained urine samples taken in the children's schools, and each sample was accompanied by a questionnaire about lifestyle and dietary habits. We found DMP and DMTP in detectable concentrations in the greatest number of samples (96 and 94%, respectively). The DMP values were geometric mean (GM) 116.7, [geometric standard deviation (GSD) 2.5], and a range of 7.4-1,471.5 nmol/g creatinine. The corresponding DMTP values were GM 104.3 (GSD 2.8) and a range of 4.0-1,526.0 nmol/g creatinine. DMDTP, DEP, DETP, and DEDTP concentrations were GM 14.1, (GSD 3.0), and a range of 3.3-754.6 nmol/g creatinine in 34% of the children; GM 33.2, (GSD 2.4), and a range of 5.1-360.1 nmol/g creatinine in 75% of the children; GM 16.0, (GSD 2.9), and a range of 3.1-284.7 in 48% of the children; and GM 7.7, (GSD 2.1), and a range of 2.3-140.1 in 12% of the children, respectively. The significant variable for urinary excretion of these metabolites in children was pest control operations performed inside or outside the house in the preceding month; however, the presence of a vegetable garden near the house rarely emerged. The urinary excretion of alkylphosphates in children was significantly higher than in a group of the adult population resident in the same province.

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