Selected Pesticide Residues and Metabolites in Urine from a Survey of the U.S. General Population
Residues of toxic chemicals in human tissues and fluids can be important indicators of exposure. Urine collected from a subsample of the second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey was analyzed for organochlorine, organophosphorus, and chlorophenoxy pesticides or their metabolites. Urine concentration was also measured. The most frequently occurring residue in urine was pentachlorophenol (PCP), found in quantifiable concentrations in 71.6% of the general population with an estimated geometric mean level of 6.3 ng/mL. Percent quantifiable levels of PCP were found to be highest among males. Quantifiable concentrations of 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (5.8%), 2,4,5-trichlorophenol (3.4%), paranitrophenol (2.4%), dicamba (1.4%), malathion dicarboxylic acid (0.5%), malathion alpha-monocarboxylic acid (1.1%), and 2,4-D (0.3%) were found, but at much lower frequencies. No quantifiable levels of 2,4,5-T or silvex were found. Preliminary analyses showed an apparent relationship between residue concentration and two measures of urine concentration (osmolality and creatinine). A large segment of the general population of the United States experienced exposure to certain pesticides, including some considered biodegradable, during the years 1976-1980.