Nondietary ingestion of pesticides by children in an agricultural community on the US/Mexico border: Preliminary results

Stuart L. Shalat*, Kirby C. Donnelly, Natalie C.G. Freeman, James A. Calvin, Sowmya Ramesh, Marta Jimenez, Kathleen Black, Catriona Coutinho, Larry L. Needham, Dana B. Barr, Juan Ramirez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


An environmental measurement nd correlation study of nondietary ingestion of pesticides was carried out in a colonia in south Texas. The purpose of the study was to evaluate young children's exposure to environmental levels of organophosphate (OP) pesticides in the household. Samples were collected to measure levels of OP pesticides in housedust and on children's hands. These, in turn, were compared to levels of OP pesticide metabolites in urine. A total of 52 children, 25 boys and 27 girls, participated in the spring and summer of 2000. The children were 7-53 months ofage at the time of recruitment. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were carried out using SAS statistical software. Seventy-six percent of housedust samples and 50% of hand rinse samples contained OP pesticides. All urine samples had at least one metabolite and over 95% had at least two metabolites above the limit of detection (LOD). Total OP loadings in t he housedust ranged from nondetectable (nd) to 78.03 nmol/100 cm2 (mean=0.15 nmol/100 cm2; median=0.07 nmol/100 cm2); total OP loadings on the children's hands ranged from nd to 13.40 nmol/100 cm2 (mean=1.21 nmo 1/100 cm2; median=1.41 nmol/100 cm2), and creatinine corrected urinary levels (nmol/mol creatinine) of total OP metabolites ranged from 3.2 to 257 nmol/mol creatinine (mean=42.6; median 27.4 nmol/mol creatinine). Urinary metabolites were inversely associated with the age of the child (in months) with the parameter estimate (pe)= -2.11, P=0.0070, and 95% confidence interval -3.60 to -0.61. The multivariate analysis observed a weak association between concentrations of OP pesticides in housedust, loadings in housedust, and concentration on hands, hand surface area, and urinary levels of OP metabolites. However, hand loadings of OP pesticides were more strongly associated (r2=0.28; P=0.0156) with urinary levels ofOP metabolites (pe=6.39; 95% CI 0.98-11.80). This study's preliminary findings suggest that surface loadings of pesticides, on hands, are more highly correlated with urinary bioassays and, therefore, may be more useful for estimation of exposure in epidemiologic studies than levels of pesticides in housedust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-50
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Border
  • Children
  • Exposure
  • Hispanic
  • Organophosphate pesticides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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