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Bibliography Tag: exposure at school and public spaces

Linhart et al., 2021

Linhart, Caroline, Panzacchi, Simona, Belpoggi, Fiorella, Clausing, Peter, Zaller, Johann G., & Hertoge, Koen; “Year-round pesticide contamination of public sites near intensively managed agricultural areas in South Tyrol;” Environmental Sciences Europe, 2021, 33(1); DOI: 10.1186/s12302-020-00446-y.


BACKGROUND: In a previous study, we found that 45% of public playgrounds near intensively managed agricultural areas were contaminated with mainly endocrine active pesticide residues in spring. Here, we investigated potential contamination over the course of a year.

METHODS: Residue data were analyzed from 96 grass samples collected in spring, summer, autumn, and winter by the South Tyrolean Medical Service in 19 public playgrounds, four schoolyards, and one marketplace located within intensively managed agricultural landscapes. Samples were analyzed for 281 substances using gas-chromatography and mass-spectrometry.

RESULTS: A total of 32 pesticide residues and one preservative agent were found. Almost all of the sites (96%) were contaminated with at least one residue during the year; in 79% of the sites, more than one residue was found. Among the detected residues, 76% are classified as endocrine active substances, with the highest concentrations of the insecticide chlorpyrifos-methyl (0.71 mg kg−1), the herbicide oxadiazon (0.64 mg kg−1), and the fungicides captan (0.46 mg kg−1) and fluazinam (0.23 mg kg−1). The number of residues, their concentrations, and the proportion of contaminated sites varied across seasons (p < 0.001). Twenty-five residues were found in 83% of the sites in spring (median concentration 0.240 mg kg−1), nine in 79% of the sites in summer (0.092 mg kg−1), three in 50% of the sites in autumn (0.076 mg kg−1), and four in 17% of the sites in winter (0.155 mg kg−1). Playgrounds already examined in 2017 in the previous study, were more often contaminated with multiple pesticide residues in 2018 (p = 0.045).

CONCLUSION: This study confirms previous findings of widespread pesticide contamination of public sites within intensively managed agricultural areas. Moreover, pesticide residues were also found in periods with little or no pesticide application in the field (autumn and winter). It is worrisome that many of the detected residues are endocrine active substances and that some of them (thiacloprid, bupirimate, captan, folpet) are “suspected human carcinogens”, according to EU authorities. Thus, we call for more effective controls of pesticide applications to minimize pesticide drift into public places. FULL TEXT

Van Stempvoort et al., 2014

Van Stempvoort, D. R., Roy, J. W., Brown, S. J., & Bickerton, G.; “Residues of the herbicide glyphosate in riparian groundwater in urban catchments;” Chemosphere, 2014, 95, 455-463; DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2013.09.095.


The herbicide glyphosate and its putative metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) have been found in urban streams, but limited information is available on their presence in urban riparian groundwater. Information is also lacking regarding the source of AMPA in these urban settings (glyphosate metabolite or wastewater), and whether, if present, glyphosate residues in urban riparian groundwater contribute significantly to urban streams. Glyphosate and AMPA were detected in shallow riparian groundwater at 4 of 5 stream sites in urban catchments in Canada and each were found in approximately 1 in 10 of the samples overall. Frequency of observations of glyphosate and AMPA varied substantially between sites, from no observations in a National Park near the Town of Jasper Alberta, to observations of both glyphosate and AMPA in more than half of the samples along two short reaches of streams in Burlington, Ontario. In these two catchments, AMPA was correlated with glyphosate, rather than the artificial sweetener acesulfame, suggesting that the AMPA is derived mainly from glyphosate degradation rather than from wastewater sources. Land use, localized dosage history, depth below ground and other factors likely control the occurrence of detectable glyphosate residues in groundwater. FULL TEXT

Miersma et al., 2003

Miersma, Nick A., Pepper, Christopher B., & Anderson, Todd A.; “Organochlorine pesticides in elementary school yards along the Texas–Mexico border;” Environmental Pollution, 2003, 126(1), 65-71; DOI: 10.1016/s0269-7491(03)00126-x.


A reconnaissance study was undertaken to determine potential contaminant exposures to children through soil from elementary school playgrounds. Soil samples were collected from areas along the Texas–Mexico border, inland areas (soils from elementary school yards in cities/towns within the state of Texas), and three National Parks (one on the border, one in Tennessee, and one in Washington). The present study focused on organochlorine (OC) pesticides as the potential contaminants of concern because of their historical (and possibly current) use, and their importance as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). DDE and heptachlor were the most frequently detected OCs (69 and 63%, respectively), although heptachlor concentrations in soil never exceeded 5 ppb. Relatively higher concentrations of DDE were observed in agricultural areas along the border (50–60 ppb in soils from McAllen, Palmview, and San Benito) than in other soils. However, a school yard in Lubbock, TX had the highest OC concentration observed (70 ppb dieldrin). These results may be due to historical agriculture activity prior to the banning of OC pesticides such as DDT in the early 1970s, as well as the more recent use of DDT in Central and South America for malaria control. FULL TEXT

Gilden et al., 2012

Gilden, R., Friedmann, E., Sattler, B., Squibb, K., & McPhaul, K.; “Potential health effects related to pesticide use on athletic fields;” Public Health Nursing, 2012, 29(3), 198-207; DOI: 10.1111/j.1525-1446.2012.01016.x.


OBJECTIVES: Children come in contact with athletic fields on a daily basis. How these fields are maintained may have an impact on children’s potential exposure to pesticides and associated health effects.

DESIGN AND SAMPLE: This is a cross-sectional, descriptive study that utilized a survey to assess playing field maintenance practices regarding the use of pesticides. Athletic fields (N = 101) in Maryland were stratified by population density and randomly selected. MEASURES: A survey was administered to field managers (n = 33) to assess maintenance practices, including the use of pesticides. Analysis included descriptive statistics and generalized estimating equations.

RESULTS: Managers of 66 fields (65.3%) reported applying pesticides, mainly herbicides (57.4%). Managers of urban and suburban fields were less likely to apply pesticides than managers of rural fields. Combined cultivation practice was also a significant predictor of increased pesticide use.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of pesticides on athletic fields presents many possible health hazards. Results indicate that there is a significant risk of exposure to pesticide for children engaged in sports activities. Given that children are also often concurrently exposed to pesticides as food residues and from home pest management, we need to examine opportunities to reduce their exposures. Both policy and practice questions are raised.  FULL TEXT

Alarcon et al., 2005

Alarcon, W. A., Calvert, G. M., Blondell, J. M., Mehler, L. N., Sievert, J., Propeck, M., Tibbetts, D. S., Becker, A., Lackovic, M., Soileau, S. B., Das, R., Beckman, J., Male, D. P., Thomsen, C. L., & Stanbury, M.; “Acute illnesses associated with pesticide exposure at schools;” JAMA, 2005, 294(4), 455-465; DOI: 10.1001/jama.294.4.455.


CONTEXT: Pesticides continue to be used on school property, and some schools are at risk of pesticide drift exposure from neighboring farms, which leads to pesticide exposure among students and school employees. However, information on the magnitude of illnesses and risk factors associated with these pesticide exposures is not available.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the magnitude of and associated risk factors for pesticide related illnesses at schools.

DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Analysis of surveillance data from 1998 to 2002 of 2593 persons with acute pesticide-related illnesses associated with exposure at schools. Nationwide information on pesticide-related illnesses is routinely collected by 3 national pesticide surveillance systems: the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks pesticides program, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, and the Toxic Exposure Surveillance System.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Incidence rates and severity of acute pesticide-related illnesses.

RESULTS: Incidence rates for 1998-2002 were 7.4 cases per million children and 27.3 cases per million school employee full-time equivalents. The incidence rates among children increased significantly from 1998 to 2002. Illness of high severity was found in 3 cases (0.1%), moderate severity in 275 cases (11%), and low severity in 2315 cases (89%). Most illnesses were associated with insecticides (n=895, 35%), disinfectants (n=830, 32%), repellents (n=335, 13%), or herbicides (n=279, 11%). Among 406 cases with detailed information on the source of pesticide exposure, 281 (69%) were associated with pesticides used at schools and 125 (31%) were associated with pesticide drift exposure from farmland.

CONCLUSIONS: Pesticide exposure at schools produces acute illnesses among school employees and students. To prevent pesticide-related illnesses at schools, implementation of integrated pest management programs in schools, practices to reduce pesticide drift, and adoption of pesticide spray buffer zones around schools are recommended.


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