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Environ Sci Technol. 2009 Oct 15;43(20):7924-30. doi: 10.1021/es900713s.

Evaluating cumulative organophosphorus pesticide body burden of children: a national case study.

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National Center for Environmental Research, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC 20460-0001, USA.


Biomonitoring is a valuable tool for identifying exposures to chemicals that pose potential harm to human health. However, to date there has been little published on ways to evaluate the relative public health significance of biomonitoring data for different chemicals and even less on cumulative assessment of multiple chemicals. The objectives of our study are to develop a methodology for a health risk interpretation of biomonitoring data and to apply it using NHANES 1999-2002 body burden data fororganophosphorus (OP) pesticides. OP pesticides present a particularly challenging case given the nonspecificity of manymetabolites monitored through NHANES. We back-calculate OP pesticide exposures from urinary metabolite data and compare cumulative dose estimates with available toxicity information for a common mechanism of action (brain cholinesterase inhibition) using data from U.S. EPA. Our results suggest that approximately 40% of children in the United States may have had insufficient margins of exposure (MOEs) for neurological impacts from cumulative exposures to OP pesticides (MOE less than 1000). Limitations include uncertainty related to assumptions about likely precursor pesticide compounds of the urinary metabolites, sources of exposure, and intraindividual and temporal variability.

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