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Biologic monitoring to characterize organophosphorus pesticide exposure among children and workers: an analysis of recent studies in Washington State.

Fenske RA; Lu C; Curl CL; Shirai JH; Kissel JC
Environ Health Perspect 2005 Nov; 113(11):1651-1657
We examined findings from five organophosphorus pesticide biomonitoring studies conducted in Washington State between 1994 and 1999. We compared urinary dimethylthiophosphate (DMTP) concentrations for all study groups and composite dimethyl alkylphosphate (DMAP) concentrations for selected groups. Children of pesticide applicators had substantially higher metabolite levels than did Seattle children and farmworker children (median DMTP, 25 microg/L; p < 0.0001). Metabolite levels of children living in agricultural communities were elevated during periods of crop spraying. Median DMTP concentrations for Seattle children and farmworker children did not differ significantly (6.1 and 5.8 microg/L DMTP, respectively; p = 0.73); however, the DMAP concentrations were higher for Seattle children than for farmworker children (117 and 87 nmol/L DMAP, respectively; p = 0.007). DMTP concentrations of U.S. children 6-11 years of age (1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey population) were higher than those of Seattle children and farmworker children at the 75th, 90th, and 95th percentiles. DMTP concentrations for workers actively engaged in apple thinning were 50 times higher than DMTP concentrations for farmworkers sampled outside of peak exposure periods. We conclude that workers who have direct contact with pesticides should continue to be the focus of public health interventions and that elevated child exposures in agricultural communities may occur during active crop-spraying periods and from living with a pesticide applicator. Timing of sample collection is critical for the proper interpretation of pesticide biomarkers excreted relatively soon after exposure. We surmise that differences in dietary exposure can explain the similar exposures observed among farmworker children, children living in the Seattle metropolitan area, and children sampled nationally.
Biological-effects; Biological-monitoring; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Children; Organo-phosphorus-compounds; Organo-phosphorus-pesticides; Pesticide-residues; Pesticides; Pesticides-and-agricultural-chemicals; Urinalysis; Sampling; Metabolic-rate; Metabolic-study; Agricultural-chemicals; Agricultural-products; Agricultural-workers; Families; Farmers; Public-health
R.A. Fenske, University of Washington, Box 357234, Health Sciences Building, F-233, 1959 N.E. Pacific St., Seattle, WA 98195-7234 USA
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: August 5, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division