2000 Progress Report: The Epidemiological Investigation of the Effects of Pesticide Exposure on Neurodevelopmental, Growth, and Respiratory Health of Farmworker Children

EPA Grant Number: R826709C002
Subproject: this is subproject number 002 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R826709
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: CECEHDPR - University of California at Berkeley
Center Director: ,
Title: The Epidemiological Investigation of the Effects of Pesticide Exposure on Neurodevelopmental, Growth, and Respiratory Health of Farmworker Children
Investigators: Eskenazi, Brenda , Bradman, Asa , Lubin, Bert , McKone, Thomas , Meyers, Jim
Current Investigators: Eskenazi, Brenda
Institution: University of California - Berkeley
EPA Project Officer: Callan, Richard
Project Period: January 1, 1998 through January 1, 2002
Project Period Covered by this Report: January 1, 1999 through January 1, 2000
Project Amount: Refer to main center abstract for funding details.
RFA: Centers for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research (1998) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Children's Health , Health Effects , Health


The objectives of the research project are to:
(1) estimate sources, pathways and levels of in utero and postnatal pesticide exposures of children living in an agricultural community by measuring biological and environmental samples;
(2) determine whether exposure to pesticides is associated with poorer neurodevelopmental functioning and behavioral problems, delayed growth, and increased respiratory symptoms and disease;
(3) determine whether exposure to environmental allergens and respiratory irritants is associated with increased respiratory symptoms and disease. We will determine whether pesticide exposure modifies the relationship of allergen exposure and respiratory outcomes; and
(4) evaluate the impact of "Healthy Homes" interventions on the reduction of pesticide exposure to farmworker children.

Project A. Environmental Exposures to Children Living in an Agricultural Community. Specific activities involve measuring urinary levels of organophosphate pesticide metabolites in approximately 500 pregnant women and their children and comparing these levels to local pesticide use, including home and agricultural use. We will also measure pesticide levels in housedust. Samples for pollen, mold, endotoxin, dust mite, cockroach, and other allergens are being collected from each home to assess their association with asthma and other respiratory disease. Detailed health and environmental questionnaires are administered to each participant. We are collecting ambient air samples to assess levels of pollens and mold in the general outdoor environment. A small group of children will be video-taped in order to develop statistical descriptions of exposure-prone behavior in children, such as hand-to-mouth contact. The ultimate goal of this research is to understand exposure pathways for young children so that effective and age-appropriate interventions and can be designed.

Project B. Health Effects of Environmental Exposures to Children Living in an Agricultural Community. We will determine the relationship between neurodevelopment, growth, and the occurrence of respiratory symptoms and disease and exposure to pesticides and allergens during the prenatal and/or postnatal periods. We have enrolled a cohort of approximately 550 pregnant women who receive care from either of two community clinics, and we will follow their children up until age two. At each medical visit, the child will be measured and weighed to assess growth patterns. Neurobehavioral evaluations are also conducted during the neonatal period and at ages 6, 12, and 24 months. Incidence of respiratory symptoms and disease will by assessed throughout the study period. Maternal urine samples collected during pregnancy and child urine samples will be measured for organophosphate metabolites. Home dust samples will be obtained during the prenatal period and at 6 and 12 months to measure common asthma-associated environmental antigens and endotoxin. Mothers will be interviewed pre- and postnatally about their habits, demographic characteristics, migration patterns, and work and medical history.

Project C. Intervention to Reduce Environmental Exposures to Children Living in an Agricultural Community. Currently, we are working with our community partners in the Salinas Valley in Monterey County to design and implement an intervention study to prevent environmental exposures to children. Expansion of this pilot study is pending additional funding.

Progress Summary:

Enrollment ended in October 2000, after a full year of recruitment through community clinics. We have succeeded in enrolling the targeted number of pregnant women (n=550) by the expected date. Overall, we have been able to meet our goals and are developing a repository of samples that we will be able to utilize for future studies (e.g., endocrine disrupting pesticides). As of October 5, 2000, we have collected and processed approximately 1,100 urine, 650 maternal and cord blood samples, and 118 breast milk samples. Preliminary pesticide urinary metabolite data are available for 93 women. We have also completed 395 prenatal home inspections and successfully collected 790 mini-burkard for airborne pollen and mold, 1,106 dust samples for allergen testing, and 395 dust samples for pesticide analysis. 202 babies have been born; Brazelton assessments have been completed on 136. To date, we have been able to locate over 90 percent of these women when their child reached 6 months. Over 80 percent have participated at 6 months and we have been able to collect urine samples from all children participating in the 6 months neurobehavioral assessments (17 children to date). Currently, we are data-entering prenatal questionnaires and home inspections and working with collaborators at the California Department of Health Services to begin utilizing 1999 Pesticide Use Reports, which recently became available.

Other accomplishments include:

  • The study instruments (e.g., questionnaire, home walk-through form, food frequency questionnaire) for administration at baseline, 26 weeks, delivery, and the 6 and 12 month assessment and home visits have been developed, translated, and piloted.
  • A participant tracking database is in place.
  • Data entry is ongoing.
  • The field laboratory protocols have been developed for collecting, shipping, and storage of the biological (urine, blood, breastmilk) and environmental samples (dust for antigens and pesticides).
  • Ambient pollen and mold data are being reported nationally and to local physicians and media (http://www.salinasallergyclinic.com/information/chamacos.htm).
  • Additional field office space has been procured.
  • Additional interviewers have been hired and trained.
  • Space at the field office has been outfitted as a neurobehavioral assessment laboratory.
  • An RV has been purchased and outfitted as a mobile clinic for conducting neurobehavioral assessments.
  • The first 6 month neurobehavioral assessments began during the week of August 21, 2000.
  • A second home sampling team has been equipped and deployed.
  • Validation studies have been conducted to finalize the target analyte list for measuring pesticides in environmental media.

Preliminary OP urinary metabolite data are available for 93 women. However, the available data are very preliminary so no summary information is possible. Additional data from CDC has been delayed due to temporary staffing reductions at CDC, but should be released during Spring 2001.

Future Activities:

The following future activities are planned for the upcoming year:

  • Plan and implement 6 and 12 month neurobehavioral assessments and home visits.
  • Finalize Southwest Research Institute laboratory procedures and begin analysis of dust samples.
  • Continue with data entry and integration of data sources (study instruments, CDC urine data, state Pesticide Use Reporting data, etc.).
  • Begin preliminary data analysis.
  • Pending notification of additional funding, the final intervention and education projects will be developed and implemented.

Journal Articles on this Report : 1 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 15 publications 1 publications in selected types All 1 journal articles
Other center views: All 109 publications 7 publications in selected types All 7 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Eskenazi B, Bradman A, Castorina R. Exposures of children to organophosphate pesticides and their potential adverse health effects. Environmental Health Perspectives 1999;107(Suppl 3):409-419. R826709 (2001)
R826709 (2002)
R826709C001 (1999)
R826709C001 (2000)
R826709C002 (1999)
R826709C002 (2000)
R826709C003 (1999)
R826709C003 (2000)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Full-text: Center for Healthy Housing-Full Text PDF
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    pesticides, organophosphates, health effects, agriculture, neurobehavioral assessments, environmental epidemiology, exposure assessment, asthma, allergens, mold, pollen, endotoxin, children, house dust; risk assessment, infants, Pacific coast, California, CA, Region 9., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Toxics, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, Epidemiology, pesticides, Endocrine Disruptors - Environmental Exposure & Risk, endocrine disruptors, Risk Assessments, Susceptibility/Sensitive Population/Genetic Susceptibility, Biochemistry, Children's Health, genetic susceptability, Endocrine Disruptors - Human Health, asthma, health effects, pesticide exposure, sensitive populations, endotoxin, childhood development, airway disease, biological response, respiratory problems, endocrine disrupting chemicals, exposure, children, Human Health Risk Assessment, neurodevelopmental, neurotoxicity, assessment of exposure, childhood respiratory disease, children's vulnerablity, human exposure, growth and development, insecticides, neurodevelopmental toxicity, pesticide residues, environmental health hazard, epidemeology, dietary exposure, growth & development, agricultural community, developmental disorders, developmental toxicants, environmental hazard exposures

    Relevant Websites:


    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 1998
  • 1999 Progress Report
  • Final

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R826709    CECEHDPR - University of California at Berkeley

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R826709C001 Community Based Intervention to Reduce Pesticide Exposures to Young Children
    R826709C002 The Epidemiological Investigation of the Effects of Pesticide Exposure on Neurodevelopmental, Growth, and Respiratory Health of Farmworker Children
    R826709C003 A Comprehensive Assessment of Sources of Pesticide Contamination, Concentrations in Pathways, and Exposure-prone Behavior