Shealy et al., 1996

Shealy, Dana B., Bonin, Michael A., Wooten, Joe V., Ashley, David L., Needham, Larry L., & Bond, Andrew E.; “Application of an improved method for the analysis of pesticides and their metabolites in the urine of farmer applicators and their families;” Environment International, 1996, 22(6), 661-675; DOI: 10.1016/s0160-4120(96)00058-x.


As the annual use of pesticides in the United States has escalated, public health agencies have become increasingly concerned about chronic pesticide exposure. However, without reliable, accurate analytical methods for biological monitoring, low-level chronic exposures are often difficult to assess. A method for measuring simultaneously the urinary residues of as many as 20 pesticides has been significantly improved. The method uses a sample preparation which includes enzyme digestion, extraction, and chemical derivatization of the analytes. The derivatized analytes are measured by using gas chromatography coupled with isotope-dilution tandem mass spectrometry. The limits of detection of the modified method are in the high pg/L – low μg/L range, and the average coefficient of variation (CV) of the method was below 20% for most analytes, with approximately 100% accuracy in quantification. This method was used to measure the internal doses of pesticides among selected farmer applicators and their families. Definite exposure and elimination patterns (i.e., an increase in urinary analyte levels following application and then a gradual decrease to background levels) were observed among the farmer applicators and many of the family members whose crops were treated with carbaryl, dicamba, and 2,4-D esters and amines. Although the spouses of farm workers sometimes exhibited the same elimination pattern, the levels of the targeted pesticides or metabolites found in their urine were not outside the ranges found in the general U.S. population (reference range). The farmer applicators who applied the pesticides and some of their children appeared to have higher pesticide or metabolite levels in their urine than those found in the general U.S. population, but their levels were generally comparable to or lower than reported levels in other occupationally exposed individuals. These results, however, were obtained from a nonrandom sampling of farm residents specifically targeted to particular exposures who may have altered their practices because they were being observed; therefore, further study is required to determine if these results are representative of pesticide levels among residents on all farms where these pesticides are applied using the same application techniques. Using this method to measure exposure in a small nonrandom farm population allowed differentiation between overt and background exposure. In addition, the important role of reference-range information in distinguishing between various levels of environmental exposure was reaffirmed. FULL TEXT