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J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2009 Jan;19(1):69-78. doi: 10.1038/jes.2008.49. Epub 2008 Sep 3.

The attribution of urban and suburban children's exposure to synthetic pyrethroid insecticides: a longitudinal assessment.

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Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


Despite the widespread use of synthetic pyrethroid insecticides that led to common exposure in the population, very few studies have been conducted to quantitatively assess human, particularly, children's, long-term exposures to pyrethroid insecticides. The objective of the Children Pesticide Exposure Study - Washington (CPES-WA) was to establish the longitudinal exposure profiles for pyrethroid insecticides in a cohort of children living in an urban and suburban community using urinary pyrethroid metabolites as exposure biomarkers. The results from this analysis will allow us to examine potential risk factors in relation to the elevated pyrethroid insecticide exposure in children. A total of 23 children, aged 3-11 years, who only consumed conventional diets were enrolled in this 1-year study. We provided organic food items to children for 5 consecutive days in the summer and fall sampling seasons. We measured urinary metabolites for the synthetic pyrethroid insecticides in urine samples that were collected twice daily during each of the four sampling seasons. 3-phenoxybenzoic acid was frequently detected in the urine samples with mean and median daily volume-weighted average levels of 1.5 and 1.2 microg/l, followed by trans-2,2-(dichloro)-2-dimethylvinylcyclopropane carboxylic acid (1.4 and 1.0 microg/l) and cis-2,2-(dichloro)-2-dimethylvinylcyclopropane carboxylic acid (0.5 microg/l, and non-detected). When we took into account season, age, sex, diet, and self-reported residential use of pyrethroid insecticides in a linear mixed-effects model, the results suggested that the combination of the use of pyrethroid insecticides in the household, dietary intake, and seasonal differences play a significant role in predicting children's exposure to synthetic pyrethroid insecticides. We found CPES-WA children were continuously exposed to pyrethroid insecticides through their diets all year long, and this chronic exposure pattern was periodically modified by episodes of relatively high exposures from residential uses. Future research should be devoted to enhancing our understanding of the complexity of pyrethroid insecticide exposure patterns.

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