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J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2010 Mar;20(2):160-8. doi: 10.1038/jes.2009.14. Epub 2009 Mar 25.

Predictors of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid exposure among herbicide applicators.

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  • 1Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland 20892-7238, USA.


To determine the major factors affecting the urinary levels of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) among county noxious weed applicators in Kansas, we used a regression technique that accounted for multiple days of exposure. We collected 136 12-h urine samples from 31 applicators during the course of two spraying seasons (April to August of 1994 and 1995). Using mixed-effects models, we constructed exposure models that related urinary 2,4-D measurements to weighted self-reported work activities from daily diaries collected over 5 to 7 days before the collection of the urine sample. Our primary weights were based on an earlier pharmacokinetic analysis of turf applicators; however, we examined a series of alternative weighting schemes to assess the impact of the specific weights and the number of days before urine sample collection that were considered. The derived models accounting for multiple days of exposure related to a single urine measurement seemed robust with regard to the exact weights, but less to the number of days considered; albeit the determinants from the primary model could be fitted with marginal losses of fit to the data from the other weighting schemes that considered a different numbers of days. In the primary model, the total time of all activities (spraying, mixing, other activities), spraying method, month of observation, application concentration, and wet gloves were significant determinants of urinary 2,4-D concentration and explained 16% of the between-worker variance and 23% of the within-worker variance of urinary 2,4-D levels. As a large proportion of the variance remained unexplained, further studies should be conducted to try to systematically assess other exposure determinants.

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