The role of diet in children's exposure to organophosphate pesticides

Francesca Holme, Beti Thompson, Sarah Holte, Eric M. Vigoren, Noah Espinoza, Angela Ulrich, William Griffith, Elaine M. Faustman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Studies suggest that some of the greatest exposure to OPs in children occurs in agricultural communities and various pathways of exposure including the take-home pathway, proximity to orchards, and diet have been explored. However, the importance of the dietary pathway of exposure for children in agricultural communities is not well understood. Objectives: Our goal was to ascertain whether there were associations between measures of OP exposure and apple juice, fruit, and vegetable consumption across growing seasons by children of farmworkers and non-farmworkers in a rural agricultural setting. Methods: Study participants were children of farmworker (N=100) or non-farmworker (N=100) households from a longitudinal cohort study. Dietary intake of fruits and vegetables was assessed using a "5-A-Day" abbreviated food frequency questionnaire, and exposure to OPs was characterized using three urinary di-methyl and three di-ethyl metabolite measurements per child for each of three growing seasons. We used generalized estimating equations to examine data. Results: Consumption frequency of fruits and vegetables was similar between children of farmworkers and non-farmworkers and across seasons. There were a few significant trends between dimethyl metabolites (DMAP) and fruit, vegetable or apple juice consumption; however, no clear pattern held across seasons or occupation. One difference was found in vegetable consumption during the harvest season, where the farmworker families showed a significant relationship between vegetable consumption and dimethyl metabolite levels (p=0.002). We also found a significant difference in this relationship between farmworkers and non-farmworkers (p=0.001). No significant trends between fruit and vegetable consumption and diethyl (DEAP) metabolites were found. Conclusions: Our study shows the importance of considering season and parents' occupation in understanding OP exposure routes among children in an agricultural community. The impact of these factors on dietary OP exposure requires a more thorough analysis of the availability and consumption of produce from different sources including farms using pesticides where parents worked.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the participants in the Lower Yakima Valley who gave their time and energy for this research. This research was supported by grants from The National Institutes of Health ( PO1 ES009601 ) and The Environmental Protection Agency ( R831709 and RD834514 ). The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the funding agencies.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.


  • Agricultural community
  • Children
  • Diet
  • Farmworker
  • Organophosphate pesticides
  • Pesticide
  • Pesticide exposure
  • Rural


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