Daily News Archive
From March 21, 2001

CDC Finds Background Levels of Organophosphate Pesticides in Average American Body

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today released a report, National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, on levels of environmental chemicals, including organophosphate pesticides, mercury, lead, phthalates, and heavy metals found in American's bodies.

The CDC data on pesticide metabolites was obtained from 703 urine samples from volunteers of the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination survey administered by CDC and Prevention's National Center for Environmental Health. The urine samples were analyzed for six metabolites in order to detect the presence of 28 organophosphate pesticides, including azinphos methyl, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, dicrotophos, disulfoton, fenthion, malathion, parathion, phosmet, phorate, temephos, terbufos, and 16 others, finding an average of 0.17 to 2.55 micrograms/L urine.

The six metabolites tested for were dimethyl phosphate (DMP), dimethyl thiophosphate (DMTP), dimethyl dithiophosphate (DMDTP), diethyl phosphate, (DEP), diethyl thiophosphate (DETP), and diethyl dithiophosphate (DEDTP). The lowest amount detected in urine samples was 0.08 micrograms/L urine for DEDTP and the highest amount detected was 22.9 micrograms/L urine for DMP. Each metabolite is found in several different organophosphate pesticides and therefore data cannot specifically correlate with exposure to an individual pesticide or even a group of pesticides.

CDC will conduct a similar study in 2001 for additional pesticides, arsenic, volatile organic compounds, and dioxins, furans and PCBs.

For a copy of the report, see http://www.cdc.gov/nceh.dls/report