Pesticides and their metabolites in the homes and urine of farmworker children living in the Salinas Valley, CA

Asa Bradman, Donald Whitaker, Lesliam Quirós, Rosemary Castorina, Birgit Claus Henn, Marcia Nishioka, Jeffrey Morgan, Dana B. Barr, Martha Harnly, Judith A. Brisbin, Linda S. Sheldon, Thomas E. McKone, Brenda Eskenazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In support of planning efforts for the National Children's Study, we conducted a study to test field methods for characterizing pesticide exposures to 20 farmworker children aged 5-27 months old living in the Salinas Valley of Monterey County, California. We tested methods for collecting house dust, indoor and outdoor air, dislodgeable residues from surfaces and toys, residues on clothing (sock and union suits), food, as well as spot and overnight diaper urine samples. We measured 29 common agricultural and home use pesticides in multiple exposure media samples. A subset of organophosphorus (OP), organochlorine (OC) and pyrethroid pesticides were measured in food. We also analyzed urine samples for OP pesticide metabolites. Finally, we administered four field-based exposure assessment instruments: a questionnaire; food diary; home inspection; and a self-administered child activity timeline. Pesticides were detected more frequently in house dust, surface wipes, and clothing than other media, with chlorpyrifos, diazinon, chlorthal-dimethyl, and cis- and trans-permethrin detected in 90% to 100% of samples. Levels of four of these five pesticides were positively correlated among the house dust, sock, and union suit samples (Spearman's ρ=0.18-0.76). Pesticide loading on socks and union suits was higher for the group of 10 toddlers compared to the 10 younger crawling children. Several OP pesticides, as well as 4,4′-DDE, atrazine, and dieldrin were detected in the food samples. The child activity timeline, a novel, low-literacy instrument based on pictures, was successfully used by our participants. Future uses of these data include the development of pesticide exposure models and risk assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-349
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Agriculture
  • Children
  • Exposure
  • Pesticides
  • Union suits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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