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Biologically based pesticide dose estimates for children in an agricultural community.

Fenske-RA; Kissel-CJ; Lu-C; Kalman-AD; Simcox-HE; Keifer-CM
Environ Health Perspect 2000 Jun; 108(6):515-520
Current pesticide health risk assessments in the United States require the characterization of aggregate exposure and cumulative risk in the setting of food tolerances. Biologic monitoring can aggregate exposures from all sources and routes, and can integrate exposures for chemicals with a common mechanism of action. Its value was demonstrated in a recent study of organophosphorus (OP) pesticide exposure among 109 children in an agricultural community in Washington State; 91 of the children had parents working in agriculture. We estimated individual OP pesticide doses from urinary metabolite concentrations with a deterministic steady state model, and corn- pared them to toxicologic reference values. We evaluated doses by assuming that metabolites were attributable entirely to either azinphos-methyl or phosmet, the two OP pesticides used most frequently in the region. Creatinine-adjusted average dose estimates during the 6- to 8-week spray- ing season ranged from 0 to 36 igIkgIday. For children whose parents worked in agriculture as either orchard applicators or as fleldworkers, 56% of the doses estimated for the spray season exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chronic dietary reference dose, and 19% exceeded the World Health Organization acceptable daily intake values for azinphos-methyl. The corresponding values for children whose parents did not work in agriculture were 44 and 22%, respectively. The percentage of children exceeding the relevant reference values for phosmet was substantially lower (< 10%). Single-day dose estimates ranged from 0 to 72 day, and 26% of these exceeded the EPA acute reference dose for azinphos-methyl. We also generated dose estimates by adjustment for total daily urine volume, and these estimates were consistently higher than the creatinine-adjusted estimates. None of the dose estimates exceeded the empirically derived no-observable-adverse-effect levels for these compounds. The study took place in an agricultural region during a period of active spraying, so the dose estimates for this population should not be considered representative of exposures in the general population. The findings indicate that children living in agricultural regions represent an important subpopulation for public health evaluation, and that their exposures fall within a range of regulatory concern. They also demonstrate that biologically based exposure measures can provide data for health risk evaluations in such populations. Key words biologic monitoring, children, dose, exposure, organophosphorus pesticides, urinary metabolites.
Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Pesticides; Pesticides-and-agricultural-chemicals; Risk-analysis; Biological-monitoring; Children; Organo-phosphorus-compounds; Organo-phosphorus-pesticides; Metabolites; Urinalysis; Toxicology; Trace-analysis; Sprays; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Health-hazards
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Neurotoxic Disorders; Neurotoxic-effects
Source Name
Environmental Health Perspectives
Performing Organization
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division