Residential pesticide use is associated with children's respiratory symptoms

J Occup Environ Med. 2012 Oct;54(10):1281-7. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31825cb6ae.


Objective: To characterize the association between residential pesticide application and acute and chronic respiratory symptoms in children, focusing on the location of the pesticide application in and around the home and the type of pesticide applicator (professional vs nonprofessional).

Methods: We used 1999 to 2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey results to investigate this association in children younger than 18 years (N = 14,065).

Results: Overall, pesticide use in the home was not associated with wheezing (odds ratio [OR], 1.15; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.91 to 1.47). Nevertheless, pesticide use in the kitchen or dining rooms was significantly associated with increased odds of wheezing (OR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.08 to 1.78) and dry cough (OR, 2.38; 95% CI, 1.40 to 4.06) after controlling for covariates.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that residential use of pesticides and the location of pesticide application are associated with increased respiratory complaints in children.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cough / chemically induced*
  • Cough / epidemiology
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys / statistics & numerical data
  • Pesticides / adverse effects*
  • Prevalence
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Respiratory Sounds / etiology*


  • Pesticides