May 2010

Document Type


Degree Name



Dept. of Public Health and Preventive Medicine


Oregon Health & Science University


Studies of children living in agricultural communities have identified potential health risks associated with the chronic environmental exposure to pesticides, including neurologic impairment. Young children have a greater vulnerability to effects of pesticide exposure than adults because sensitive organ systems are in the process of developing their capacity to eliminate toxins is not mature. This secondary analysis using data collected in a community-based participatory research program conducted between 1996 and 2006 combines data collected on children of Latino farm workers living in agricultural areas of Oregon. This analysis demonstrates that children of agriculture workers are more likely to be exposed to more organophosphate pesticides than children of non-agriculture workers. The highest concentrations of individual dialkyphosphate (DAP) metabolites in urine samples were detected at the middle of the growing season when exposure to pesticide residues was expected to be high. Children of non-agriculture workers with urine samples containing more than one type of DAP metabolite performed better than children of agriculture workers on neurobehavioral measures relating to attention. These observations wer made across communities hosting varying agricultural industries and types of crops. Neurobehavioral effects are just one negative health effects of pesticide exposure; there are many other health effects currently under investigation and possibly not yet considered. Precaution should be taken to protect the health of the families working in agriculture within the United States and around the world.




School of Medicine



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