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Metab Brain Dis. 2014 Sep;29(3):845-55. doi: 10.1007/s11011-014-9565-9. Epub 2014 May 16.

Characterizing exposures and neurobehavioral performance in Egyptian adolescent pesticide applicators.

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Occupational and Environmental Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa CIty, IA, USA,


Children and adolescents may have occupational exposure to pesticides. Although previous studies examining prenatal pesticide exposure have identified neurobehavioral deficits in children, there are limited studies examining the impact of occupational exposure in children. The objectives of this study are to estimate exposures to the organophosphorus pesticide, chlorpyrifos (CPF), by measuring urinary levels of 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCPy), a specific CPF metabolite, and blood cholinesterase (ChE) activities and to characterize neurobehavioral performance in adolescents working as seasonal pesticide applicators and non-applicator controls. A neurobehavioral test battery, consisting of 14 tests, was used to assess a broad range of functions. Applicators performed worse than controls on the majority of tests. Principal component analysis was used to reduce the number of outcome variables and two components, focused on reasoning-short-term memory and attention-executive functioning, showed significant deficits in applicators compared to non-applicators. Elevated metabolite levels were found in the applicators compared to the non-applicators, confirming CPF exposure in the applicators. Although this study is limited by a small sample size, it provides preliminary evidence of moderate CPF exposures, decreased blood ChE in some applicators and decreased neurobehavioral performance in an adolescent working population.

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