Farm workers' kids exposed to pesticides

  Some children of farm workers in Washington state show elevated levels of pesticide exposure, according to a study by University of Washington researchers. In 1995, urine samples from 109 children in agricultural counties in eastern Washington - almost all children of farm workers - were tested for two pesticides known as organophosphates. Results show 56 percent of the children of farm workers exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency's acceptable exposure level for azinphos-methyl, an organophosphate used to fight codling moths.


"The data presented here demonstrate that (organophosphate) pesticide exposures among children in agricultural communities fall into a range of regulatory concern and require further investigation," says the study.


Since Congress passed the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, the EPA has tightened its regulation of aziphos-methyl, which, at high doses, can cause inhibition of the nervous system, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. The EPA changed its regulations in 1999, says Anne Lindsay of the EPA.


Biologically Based Pesticide Dose Estimates for Children in an Agricultural Community was published in the National Institutes of Health's June issue of Environmental Health Perspectives. For more information contact Richard Fenske at 206/543-0916 or rfenske@u.washington.edu.