Urinary Dialkyl Phosphate Concentrations and Lung Function Parameters in Adolescents and Adults: Results from the Canadian Health Measures Survey

Environ Health Perspect. 2016 Apr;124(4):491-7. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1509745. Epub 2015 Sep 15.


Background: Epidemiological studies have reported associations between lung function parameters and organophosphate (OP) pesticide exposures in agricultural occupations, but to our knowledge associations have not been evaluated in general populations.

Objectives: We examined associations between OP metabolite dialkyl phosphates (DAPs) and lung function using data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) Cycle 1.

Methods: Forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1 sec (FEV1), FEV1/FVC ratio, and forced expiratory flow between 25% and 75% of FVC (FEF25%-75%) were measured for 4,446 CHMS participants. Urinary concentrations of six DAP metabolites (DMP, DMTP, DMDTP, DEP, DETP, and DEDTP), smoking status, and other predictors of lung function were also measured in the CHMS-Cycle 1. Multiple linear regression analyses were used to examine the relationship between total DAP concentrations (ΣDAPs) and lung function in adolescents (12-19 years) and adults (20-79 years).

Results: In adults, estimates from multiple regression analyses suggested that a 1-unit increase on natural logarithmic scale (171% increase on the original scale) in the creatinine-corrected urinary concentration (nanomoles per gram creatinine) of ΣDAP was associated with a 32.6-mL (95% CI: -57.2, -8.1) reduction in FVC, 32.6-mL (95% CI: -59.0, -6.3) reduction in FEV1, 0.2% (95% CI: -0.6, 0.2) reduction in FEV1/FVC ratio, and 53.1-mL/sec (95% CI: -113.9, 7.7) reduction in FEF25%-75%. In adolescents, associations between ΣDAP and FEV1 were closer to the null and positive for FVC, whereas associations with FEV1/FVC and FEF25%-75% were negative, as in adults. However, none of the associations were significant in adolescents.

Conclusions: The negative association between ΣDAP and lung function in adult participants suggests a detrimental effect of OP pesticides on lung function in the adult general population. Further studies using prospective designs are warranted to confirm the findings reported in this study.

Citation: Ye M, Beach J, Martin JW, Senthilselvan A. 2016. Urinary dialkyl phosphate concentrations and lung function parameters in adolescents and adults: results from the Canadian Health Measures Survey. Environ Health Perspect 124:491-497; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1509745.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Canada
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Environmental Pollutants / urine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / urine*
  • Pesticides / urine*
  • Pulmonary Ventilation*
  • Vital Capacity*


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • Pesticides