Comparing Longitudinal Measures of Cholinesterase as Biomarkers for Insecticide Exposure Among Latinx Children in Rural Farmworker and Urban Nonfarmworker Communities in North Carolina

J Occup Environ Med. 2023 Dec 1;65(12):1077-1085. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000002965. Epub 2023 Sep 6.


Objective: In a 2-group prospective design, this study compared seasonal cholinesterase levels of Latinx children in rural farmworker families and comparable urban children to assess the impact of environmental exposure to cholinesterase-inhibiting insecticides.

Methods: Quarterly blood samples and passive dosimeter wristbands were collected over 2 years in 8-year-old children (74 rural, 62 urban). Laboratory analysis assessed total cholinesterase, acetylcholinesterase, and butyrylcholinesterase from blood samples, and insecticides from wristbands.

Results: In spring and summer, total cholinesterase and acetylcholinesterase levels were depressed in rural children compared with winter and fall. Butyrylcholinesterase was depressed in rural children in fall compared with spring and summer. Adjustment for insecticide exposure did not affect these associations.

Conclusions: Environmental exposures to cholinesterase-inhibiting insecticides have measurable biochemical effects on blood cholinesterases in rural children from farmworker families.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Biomarkers
  • Butyrylcholinesterase
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cholinesterases
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Farmers
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Insecticides*
  • North Carolina
  • Rural Population


  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Biomarkers
  • Butyrylcholinesterase
  • Cholinesterases
  • Insecticides