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OP Pesticides, Organic Diets, and Children’s Health

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      Organic Diets Significantly Lower Children’s Dietary Exposure to Organophosphorus Pesticides

      We used a novel study design to measure dietary organophosphorus pesticide exposure in a group of 23 elementary school-age children through urinary biomonitoring. We substituted most of children’s conventional diets with organic food items for 5 consecutive days and collected two spot daily urine samples, first-morning and before-bedtime voids, throughout the 15-day study period. We found that the median urinary concentrations of the specific metabolites for malathion and chlorpyrifos decreased to the nondetect levels immediately after the introduction of organic diets and remained nondetectable until the conventional diets were reintroduced. The median concentrations for other organophosphorus pesticide metabolites were also lower in the organic diet consumption days; however, the detection of those metabolites was not frequent enough to show any statistical significance. In conclusion, we were able to demonstrate that an organic diet provides a dramatic and immediate protective effect against exposures to organophosphorus pesticides that are commonly used in agricultural production. We also concluded that these children were most likely exposed to these organophosphorus pesticides exclusively through their diet. To our knowledge, this is the first study to employ a longitudinal design with a dietary intervention to assess children’s exposure to pesticides. It provides new and persuasive evidence of the effectiveness of this intervention.
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        Concentrations of dialkyl phosphate metabolites of organophosphorus pesticides in the U.S. population.

        We report population-based concentrations, stratified by age, sex, and racial/ethnic groups, of dialkyl phosphate (DAP) metabolites of multiple organophosphorus pesticides. We measured dimethylphosphate (DMP), dimethylthiophosphate (DMTP), dimethyldithiophosphate (DMDTP), diethylphosphate (DEP), diethylthiophosphate (DETP), and diethyldithiophosphate (DEDTP) concentrations in 1,949 urine samples collected in U.S. residents 6-59 years of age during 1999 and 2000 as a part of the ongoing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). We detected each DAP metabolite in more than 50% of the samples, with DEP being detected most frequently (71%) at a limit of detection of 0.2 microg/L. The geometric means for the metabolites detected in more than 60% of the samples were 1.85 microg/L for DMTP and 1.04 microg/L for DEP. The 95th percentiles for each metabolite were DMP, 13 microg/L; DMTP, 46 microg/L; DMDTP, 19 micro g/L; DEP, 13 microg/L; DETP, 2.2 microg/L; and DEDTP, 0.87 microg/L. We determined the molar sums of the dimethyl-containing and diethyl-containing metabolites; their geometric mean concentrations were 49.4 and 10.5 nmol/L, respectively, and their 95th percentiles were 583 and 108 nmol/L, respectively. These data are also presented as creatinine-adjusted concentrations. Multivariate analyses showed concentrations of DAPs in children 6-11 years of age that were consistently significantly higher than in adults and often higher than in adolescents. Although the concentrations between sexes and among racial/ethnic groups varied, no significant differences were observed. These data will be important in evaluating the impact of organophosphorus pesticide exposure in the U.S. population and the effectiveness of regulatory actions.
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          Organophosphorus pesticide exposure of urban and suburban preschool children with organic and conventional diets.

          We assessed organophosphorus (OP) pesticide exposure from diet by biological monitoring among Seattle, Washington, preschool children. Parents kept food diaries for 3 days before urine collection, and they distinguished organic and conventional foods based on label information. Children were then classified as having consumed either organic or conventional diets based on analysis of the diary data. Residential pesticide use was also recorded for each home. We collected 24-hr urine samples from 18 children with organic diets and 21 children with conventional diets and analyzed them for five OP pesticide metabolites. We found significantly higher median concentrations of total dimethyl alkylphosphate metabolites than total diethyl alkylphosphate metabolites (0.06 and 0.02 micro mol/L, respectively; p = 0.0001). The median total dimethyl metabolite concentration was approximately six times higher for children with conventional diets than for children with organic diets (0.17 and 0.03 micro mol/L; p = 0.0003); mean concentrations differed by a factor of nine (0.34 and 0.04 micro mol/L). We calculated dose estimates from urinary dimethyl metabolites and from agricultural pesticide use data, assuming that all exposure came from a single pesticide. The dose estimates suggest that consumption of organic fruits, vegetables, and juice can reduce children's exposure levels from above to below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's current guidelines, thereby shifting exposures from a range of uncertain risk to a range of negligible risk. Consumption of organic produce appears to provide a relatively simple way for parents to reduce their children's exposure to OP pesticides.

            Author and article information

            Personal Chemical Exposure Program, Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, California, E-mail: bob.krieger@
            Author notes

            The authors declare they have no competing financial interests.

            Environ Health Perspect
            Environmental Health Perspectives
            National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
            October 2006
            : 114
            : 10
            : A572
            This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose

            Public health


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