Ingestion of Pesticides by Children in an Agricultural Community on the U.S./Mexico Border

EPA Grant Number: R827440
Title: Ingestion of Pesticides by Children in an Agricultural Community on the U.S./Mexico Border
Investigators: Shalat, Stuart L. , Buckley, Brian T. , Calvin, James A. , Donnelly, Kirby C. , Freeman, Natalie C.G. , Garcia, Deliana , Robson, Mark
Current Investigators: Shalat, Stuart L. , Donnelly, Kirby C. , Freeman, Natalie C.G.
Institution: University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey , Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute , Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Current Institution: Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: October 1, 1999 through September 30, 2002 (Extended to March 31, 2003)
Project Amount: $710,231
RFA: Children's Vulnerability to Toxic Substances in the Environment (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Children's Health , Health Effects , Health


1) Develop an observational model of pesticide exposure in children ( ages 18 to 48 months)living in a rural agricultural setting utilizing objective measures of pesticides on children's hands, characterization of frequency and sequencing of 4 behaviors (hand to mouth, hand to object, hand to surface, and object to mouth). 2) Identify, measure and quantify the age-related differences in behaviors of rural children that may contribute to exposure. 3) Compare use of objective levels of pesticides on hands with objective levels of pesticides in house dust as estimator of exposure as both are compared to objective measures of pesticide metabolites in urine. 4) Determine the possible influence of hygiene practices and nutritional status on uptake of the pesticides found in their environment. 5) Reevaluation of existing dermal and ingestion models of pesticide exposure with models developed in this study.


An environmental measurement and correlation study will be conducted in the area of Laredo, Texas on the Rio Grande River. Subjects will be recruited from residents of colonias in the Laredo area. A total of 60 children from 30 residences between the ages of 18 and 48 months will be recruited for participation in the study. Hand rinses of the children and house dust will be assayed for pesticides and urine samples of the children will assay for pesticides and their metabolites. Observations of children's behavior will be made and quantified in order to evaluate the possible ingestion of pesticides from environmental sources.

Expected Results:

The proposed observational and environmental assessment study will identify behaviors leading to children's exposure to pesticides present in their environments. It will examine the factors that contribute to that exposure. The information obtained in this study will be used to reduce the uncertainty in risk assessments for children and improve exposure factor metrics for children of different ages. The results will identify the magnitude of potential environmental risks to an underserved minority population.

Improvements in Risk Assessment or Risk Management: By providing improved information on children's exposure to pesticides in the home in an agricultural community a better understanding of risks can be identified. In addition, by refining ingestion estimates for children in risk estimation of numerous chemicals in the home and general environment can be more precisely estimated.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 1 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Minority, Hispanic, farming, herbicides, organo-phosphates., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Toxics, Geographic Area, Waste, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Bioavailability, US Mexico Boarder, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, pesticides, Fate & Transport, Risk Assessments, Susceptibility/Sensitive Population/Genetic Susceptibility, Children's Health, genetic susceptability, Ecology and Ecosystems, fate and transport, pesticide exposure, sensitive populations, dermal contact, exposure, behavioral assessment, air pollution, children, exposure factor metrics, human exposure, children's vulnerablity, assessment of exposure, U.S. Mexico Border, hispanics, agricultural community, exposure assessment, organophosphate pesticides

Relevant Websites:

Synthesis Report of Research from EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Grant Program: Feasibility of Estimating Pesticide Exposure and Dose in Children Using Biological Measurements (PDF) (42 pp, 3.87 MB)

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2000 Progress Report
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • Final