Background and Objective:
Characterizing dietary pesticide exposure among young children has become an essential component of cumulative risk assessment since the passage of the Food Quality Protection Act in the US, in part due to a recent reporting identifying dietary intake as a predominant source of pesticide exposure among children, particularly for organophosphorus (OP) pesticides. The objective of this study is to quantify OP and pyrethroid insecticide residues in the 24-hour duplicate food samples collected from the Children Pesticide Exposure Study (CPES).
We have established two CPES study groups with children ages 3–11 years, 19 and 20 children residing in Seattle, Washington (CPES-WA), and in Atlanta, Georgia (CPES-GA), respectively. The 24-hour duplicate food samples, mainly fresh vegetables, fruits, and juices, were collected from these study participants three times over a 6-month period and analyzed by US Food and Drug Administration labs in Atlanta GA and College Park MD for OP and pyrethroid insecticides.
The frequencies of detection for at least one pesticide in the food samples are 14.7% for CPES-WA and 22.7% for CPES-GA. For food samples that contained detectable pesticide residues, we found 42% and 24% of those contain multiple residues in CPES-WA and CPES-GA, respectively. We found most of the OP residues in the fruit category, whereas pyrthroids were commonly detected in vegetables. The highest residues that we found in all the food samples were 350 ppb of Acephate (OP) in celery and 921 ppb of Permethrin (pyrethroids) in a composite food sample of strawberries and spinach.
We found 19 out of 100 food samples that children commonly consumed that contained at least one insecticide that is known as neurotoxin. These data will be valuable for validating urinary exposure biomarkers for the respective insecticides, as well as dietary risk assessment.