Children's exposure to organophosphorus (OP) pesticides in an agricultural community in central Washington State was determined. Spot urine and hand wipe samples were collected from 109 children 9 months to 6 years of age, as were house dust samples, and wipe samples from various surfaces. Children were categorized based on parental occupation (agricultural vs nonagricultural) and on household proximity to pesticide-treated orchards. Median house dust concentrations of dimethyl OP pesticides in homes of agricultural families were seven times higher than those of reference families (1. 92 vs 0.27 microg/g; P<0.001). Median pesticide metabolite concentrations in agricultural children were five times higher than those in reference children (0.05 vs 0.01 microg/ml; P=0.09). Median pesticide concentrations in housedust (P=0.01) and metabolite concentrations in urine (P=0.01) from agricultural families were significantly higher in the children living near treated orchards (within 200 ft or 60 m) than those living more distant. Ten of 61 agricultural children had detectable OP pesticide levles on their hands, whereas none of the reference children had detectable levels. These findings indicate that children living with parents who work with agricultural pesticides, or who live in proximity to pesticide-treated farmland, have higher exposures than do other children living in the same community
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.