Aggregate exposures of nine preschool children to persistent organic pollutants at day care and at home

J Expo Anal Environ Epidemiol. 2003 May;13(3):187-202. doi: 10.1038/sj.jea.7500270.


In the summer of 1997, we measured the aggregate exposures of nine preschool children, aged 2-5 years, to a suite of organic pesticides and other persistent organic pollutants that are commonly found in the home and school environment. The children attended either of two child day care centers in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area of North Carolina and were in day care at least 25 h/week. Over a 48-h period, we sampled indoor and outdoor air, play area soil and floor dust, as well as duplicate diets, hand surface wipes, and urine for each child at day care and at home. Our target analytes were several polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), organochlorine pesticides, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB); two organophosphate pesticides (chlorpyrifos and diazinon), the lawn herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), three phenols (pentachlorophenol (PCP), nonyl phenols, and bisphenol-A), 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCP), and two phthalate esters (benzylbutyl and dibutyl phthalate). In urine, our target analytes were hydroxy-PAH, TCP, 2,4-D, and PCP. To allow estimation of each child's aggregate exposures over the 48-h sampling period, we also used time-activity diaries, which were filled out by each child's teacher at day care and the parent or other primary caregiver at home. In addition, we collected detailed household information that related to potential sources of exposure, such as pesticide use or smoking habits, through questionnaires and field observation. We found that the indoor exposures were greater than those outdoors, that exposures at day care and at home were of similar magnitudes, and that diet contributed greatly to the exposures. The children's potential aggregate doses, calculated from our data, were generally well below established reference doses (RfDs) for those compounds for which RfDs are available.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Child Day Care Centers*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis*
  • Food Contamination / analysis
  • Hand
  • Housing*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Aromatic
  • North Carolina
  • Pesticides / analysis
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / analysis
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / analysis


  • Biomarkers
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Hydrocarbons, Aromatic
  • Pesticides
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls