Biomarker measurements of concurrent exposure to multiple environmental chemicals and chemical classes in children

Ken Sexton, Andrew D. Ryan, John L. Adgate, Dana Boyd Barr, Larry L. Needham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Concern is mounting that children from disadvantaged, low-income neighborhoods are likely to be both more exposed to chemical hazards and more susceptible to related adverse health effects. This article reports measurements of >75 individual biomarkers spanning 7 chemical/pollutant classes in blood and urine from more than 100 children living in a socioeconomically disadvantaged and ethnically diverse area of south Minneapolis, MN. Results indicate that a significant proportion of children in the study were at the high end of the exposure distribution compared to national reference ranges for a variety of environmental chemicals and/or their metabolites, including phthalates, organochlorine pesticides, organophosphate pesticides, metals, polychlorinated biphenyls, and volatile organic compounds. In addition, levels of cotinine in urine indicate that more than half the children were regularly exposed to environmental tobacco smoke, with the upper 10th percentile exposed to relatively high concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)927-942
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A: Current Issues
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jan 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grants R825813 and R826789 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. K. Sexton was partially supported by funding from the National Children’s Study. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of funding organizations. All blood and urine (except cotinine) analyses were performed by the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta, GA. Cotinine levels in urine were measured in Dr. Stephen Hecht’s laboratory at the University of Minnesota. We appreciated the help of our colleagues in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota, including Ann Fredrickson, Gurumurthy Ramachandran, and Tim Church. The authors thank the school administrators, teachers, nurses, students, and their families who made this study possible.


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