Pesticide exposures to children from California's Central Valley: results of a pilot study

J Expo Anal Environ Epidemiol. Apr-Jun 1997;7(2):217-34.


In response to concerns about pesticide use and evidence that contaminants may accumulate in house dust, the California Department of Health Services (DHS) conducted a pilot study of pesticide contamination in rural children's home environments. House dust samples for pesticide analysis were collected from eleven homes, five of which had at least one farmworker (FW) resident. Handwipe samples were collected from one child at each residence (ages 1-3 years). Ten of 33 pesticides tested in house dust were detected. Excluding non-detects, concentrations for diazinon ranged from 0.7-169 ppm in four FW homes and 0.2-2.5 ppm in three non-farmworker (NFW) homes (overall median = 1 ppm), suggesting a difference between FW and NFW homes. Chlorpyrifos ranged from 0.2-33 ppm in three FW homes and < 1 ppm in two NFW homes (overall median < 0.5 ppm). All other pesticides were detected at < 2 ppm at four or fewer homes. The sources of these compounds could not be determined. Co-located samples were considerably different in concentration and loading, indicating intra-household variation. Of nine compounds tested, diazinon and chlorpyrifos were found on the hands of two or three FW children (20-220 ng/hand). Dust ingestion scenarios show child exposures could exceed the United States Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticide Program diazinon chronic reference dose (9 x 10(5) mg/kg/day). The results suggested that pesticide residues are present in the home environment of some California children and are likely to contribute to exposures. Additional research is feasible and needed to assess the magnitude and distribution of these risks.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • California
  • Child Day Care Centers*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Housing*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Pesticide Residues / analysis*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Risk Assessment
  • Rural Population


  • Pesticide Residues