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      Effect of Organic Diet Intervention on Pesticide Exposures in Young Children Living in Low-Income Urban and Agricultural Communities


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          Recent organic diet intervention studies suggest that diet is a significant source of pesticide exposure in young children. These studies have focused on children living in suburban communities.


          We aimed to determine whether consuming an organic diet reduced urinary pesticide metabolite concentrations in 40 Mexican-American children, 3–6 years of age, living in California urban and agricultural communities.


          In 2006, we collected urine samples over 16 consecutive days from children who consumed conventionally grown food for 4 days, organic food for 7 days, and then conventionally grown food for 5 days. We measured 23 metabolites, reflecting potential exposure to organophosphorous (OP), pyrethroid, and other pesticides used in homes and agriculture. We used linear mixed-effects models to evaluate the effects of diet on urinary metabolite concentrations.


          For six metabolites with detection frequencies > 50%, adjusted geometric mean concentrations during the organic phase were generally lower for all children, and were significant for total dialkylphosphates (DAPs) and dimethyl DAPs (DMs; metabolites of OP insecticides) and 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, a herbicide), with reductions of 40%, 49%, and 25%, respectively ( p < 0.01). Chemical-specific metabolite concentrations for several OP pesticides, pyrethroids, and herbicides were either infrequently detected and/or not significantly affected by diet. Concentrations for most of the frequently detected metabolites were generally higher in Salinas compared with Oakland children, with DMs and metolachlor at or near significance ( p = 0.06 and 0.03, respectively).


          An organic diet was significantly associated with reduced urinary concentrations of nonspecific dimethyl OP insecticide metabolites and the herbicide 2,4-D in children. Additional research is needed to clarify the relative importance of dietary and non-dietary sources of pesticide exposures to young children.


          Bradman A, Quirós-Alcalá L, Castorina R, Aguilar Schall R, Camacho J, Holland NT, Barr DB, Eskenazi B. 2015. Effect of organic diet intervention on pesticide exposures in young children living in low-income urban and agricultural communities. Environ Health Perspect 123:1086–1093;  http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1408660

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          Validation of a self-administered diet history questionnaire using multiple diet records.

          The validity of a self-administered diet history questionnaire has been estimated using as the reference data the mean of three 4-day diet records collected over the year prior to the administration of the questionnaire, in 1985-1986. Subjects were women ages 45-70 years, participants in the Women's Health Trial Feasibility Study, a multi-center clinical trial in which some women were randomized to be taught to adopt and maintain a low-fat diet, while others maintained their usual diet. The questionnaire produced group mean nutrient estimates closely approximating the values obtained by three 4-day records, e.g. in the usual-diet group, 37.7% of calories from fat by both food records and by questionnaire, and in the low-fat group, 21.3% of calories from fat by food records and 23.7% of calories from fat by questionnaire. Correlations between questionnaire and diet records for per cent of calories from fat were 0.67 and 0.65 respectively in the two groups; most correlations were in the 0.5-0.6 range, and were similar to those achievable by a single 4-day food record.
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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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              Pesticide exposure of children in an agricultural community: evidence of household proximity to farmland and take home exposure pathways.

              Children's exposure to organophosphorus (OP) pesticides in an agricultural community in central Washington State was determined. Spot urine and hand wipe samples were collected from 109 children 9 months to 6 years of age, as were house dust samples, and wipe samples from various surfaces. Children were categorized based on parental occupation (agricultural vs nonagricultural) and on household proximity to pesticide-treated orchards. Median house dust concentrations of dimethyl OP pesticides in homes of agricultural families were seven times higher than those of reference families (1. 92 vs 0.27 microg/g; P<0.001). Median pesticide metabolite concentrations in agricultural children were five times higher than those in reference children (0.05 vs 0.01 microg/ml; P=0.09). Median pesticide concentrations in housedust (P=0.01) and metabolite concentrations in urine (P=0.01) from agricultural families were significantly higher in the children living near treated orchards (within 200 ft or 60 m) than those living more distant. Ten of 61 agricultural children had detectable OP pesticide levles on their hands, whereas none of the reference children had detectable levels. These findings indicate that children living with parents who work with agricultural pesticides, or who live in proximity to pesticide-treated farmland, have higher exposures than do other children living in the same community Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

                Author and article information

                Environ Health Perspect
                Environ. Health Perspect
                Environmental Health Perspectives
                10 April 2015
                October 2015
                : 123
                : 10
                : 1086-1093
                [1 ]Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH), School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA
                [2 ]Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA
                [3 ]Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
                Author notes

                These authors share lead authorship.

                Address correspondence to A. Bradman, Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH), School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, 1995 University Ave., Suite 265, Berkeley, CA 94704 USA. Telephone: (510) 643-3023. E-mail: abradman@ 123456berkeley.edu

                Publication of EHP lies in the public domain and is therefore without copyright. All text from EHP may be reprinted freely. Use of materials published in EHP should be acknowledged (for example, “Reproduced with permission from Environmental Health Perspectives”); pertinent reference information should be provided for the article from which the material was reproduced. Articles from EHP, especially the News section, may contain photographs or illustrations copyrighted by other commercial organizations or individuals that may not be used without obtaining prior approval from the holder of the copyright.

                : 06 May 2014
                : 08 April 2015
                : 10 April 2015
                : 01 October 2015
                Children's Health

                Public health
                Public health


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