Lisa R. Younglove

Project title: Evaluation of Exposure to Chlorpyrifos and Diazinon in Pesticide Applicators and Their Children in Rural Nicaragua

Degree: MPH | Program: Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) | Project type: Thesis/Dissertation
Completed in: 2004 | Faculty advisor: Richard A. Fenske


In Nicaragua and elsewhere in the developing world, children are exposed to pesticides through various pathways. Previous research suggests that children who live in close proximity to a farm, and children whose parents are agricultural workers have higher exposures to pesticides (Simcox, 1995; Curl, 2002). The take home pathway is thought to be a major source of this elevation (Simcox, 1995; Curl, 2002). Many rural Nicaraguans have homes that are open to the elements, outside kitchens, and dirt floors, thus making them more vulnerable to exposure through spray drift in addition to the take home pathway (Keifer, 1996). Additionally, poor Nicaraguans may be more susceptible to pesticide poisonings because of the lack of access to adequate health care or nutrition.

Nicaragua, and Central America in general, have very high levels of pesticide use, and consequently, high levels of pesticide poisonings when compared with developed countries (Henao: 2002). The World Health Organization recognizes that pesticide poisoning is a major public health problem in developing countries (WHO, 2003). In Nicaragua, efforts have been made by the university system, the Environment and Health Ministries, and international aid agencies to reduce pesticide usage with varying success. Hard-to-reach rural farmers and employees still use pesticides heavily and often receive minimal training on protective measures and have limited access to safety equipment (Hruska, 2002).

The purpose of the study is to measure exposure via excreted metabolites of the organophosphorus pesticides chlorpyrifos and diazinon in pesticide applicators and their children in the area around Leon, Nicaragua, and to compare these correlations between levels in the child and the levels in the applicator.

Taken from the beginning of thesis.