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Am J Ind Med. 2001 Nov;40(5):571-7.

Organophosphate pesticide residues in urine of farmworkers and their children in Fresno County, California.

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Cancer Registry of Central California, Fresno, California 93710, USA.



Childhood cancer, notably leukemia, brain cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, soft tissue sarcoma, and Hodgkin's disease, has been associated with pesticide exposure, often with greater relative risks than among exposed adults, suggesting greater susceptibility in children. These differences in risk may be due to developmental factors or differences in pesticide exposure.


A feasibility study was conducted to determine levels of pesticide metabolites in urine of adults (n = 18) and children (n = 9) in Fresno County, California, an intensely agricultural county in the Central San Joaquin Valley. Spot urine samples were obtained and analyzed for six metabolites of organophosphate (OP) pesticides using gas chromatography with flame photometric detection methods. The metabolites of OP pesticides included DMP, DEP, DMTP, DMDTP, DETP, and DEDTP.


Levels were generally low for both adults and children for most metabolites tested. Frequencies of detection ranged from 0 to 37%, with mean levels ranging from non-detectable to 13.22 ppb. However, levels of several metabolites were higher in children than in adults. The most frequently detected metabolite, DMP, was found among 44% of the children and 33% of the adults. DMTP was detected among 33% of the children and 28% of the adults.


These results are difficult to interpret given the sampling variation associated with the small sample size. Nevertheless, because OP pesticides have been associated with increased cancer risk in animal and human studies, these results indicate a need to closely monitor children's exposure to environmental chemicals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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