Pesticide Exposure in Children, 2003

This study was done to compare the organophosphorus metabolites (pesticides) found in the urine of preschool children (ages 2-5) from two distinct groups – those on almost exclusive organic diets and those on almost exclusive conventional diets.  The authors asked parents to keep a food diary three days before urine collection.  The findings were that dietary choice does impact the exposure to pesticides.  Higher levels of all metabolites were found in the urine of children eating conventional diets.  Some of these for the conventional group were still within acceptable ranges but the more toxic pesticides were above the US EPA chronic reference dose.

This study supports a previous study by the National Research Council that found higher levels of pesticide metabolites in the urine of children and “postulated that Children receive proportionately higher pesticide exposure through their diet than do adults.” (1993)  They also make the hypothesis that the diet is the primary way in which children are exposed to pesticides.

The study was conducted by faculty at the Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington in Seattle, Washington.

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