Student Research: Cynthia Curl

MS, , 2000
Faculty Advisor: Richard A. Fenske

Organophosphorous Pesticide Exposure in Children of Agricultural Families in the Lower Yakima Valley


Characteristics specific to children make them a sensitive subpopulation in teRMS of environmental exposure to pesticides. Compared to the general adult population, children have higher rates of metabolism, less mature immune systems, and have different diets (NRC, 1993.) Children also are believed to ingest more soil and house dust than do adults. Since produce, horse dust, and soil can potentially be contaminated with pesticide residues, ingestion of these substances can lead to increased risk of pesticide exposure. In 1993, the National Research Council (NRC) published a report entitled Pesticides in the Diet of Infants and Children, which brought attention to the unique characteristics of children and recommended regulatory action regarding these issues.

In response, the U.S. Congress passed the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) in 1996. The FQPA contained several significant mandates. Among them, it required that pesticide tolerances on produce take into account possible aggregate exposures. This entails consideration of potential sources of exposure from multiple pathways, including food, air, drinking water, and dermal contact with surfaces. Instead of computing the risk from pesticide exposures from each pathway and chemical separately, the cumulative risk from several compounds that create the same health effects but potentially come from different sources must also be taken into account (ACPA, 1999). This requires more complete exposure assessments that would consider the biological and behavioral qualities specific to children.

Taken from the beginning of thesis.