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Editor's Note: The following is the official February 2001 abstract from a U.S. study measuring the frequency and volume of selected pesticides in a population of Maryland residents. The study revealed that certain organophosphate residues - malthion and chlorpyrifos- were frequently found together and were detected in food samples more in spring and summer months than in winter. The burning question is, what are the health ramifications of such concentrations of pesticides, especially among children - and what are the harmful, synergistic potentialities of these two organophosphates frequently coexisting on the produce we consume?

Environmental Health Perspectives
Volume 109, Number 2, February 2001,

entitled: Longitudinal Investigation of Dietary Exposure to Selected Pesticides

By David L. MacIntosh,1 Caroline W. Kabiru,1 and P. Barry Ryan2 -

1

Department of Environmental Health Science, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia,
Athens GA, USA

2

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Rollins School of Public Health,
Emory University,
Atlanta, GA, USA

Co-occurrence of chlorpyrifos and malathion in solid food samples was found relatively frequently and also varied with time.

Abstract

Between September 1995 and September 1996, 4-day composite duplicate plate samples (379 solid food samples and 303 beverage samples) were obtained from a stratified random sample of 75 individuals in Maryland and analyzed for the presence of 10 pesticides. Samples were collected in each of six approximately equally spaced cycles as part of a larger pilot investigation of longitudinal exposure to pesticides and other elements.

Chlorpyrifos was detected in 38.3% of the solid food samples, malathion in 75.2%, and p,p-DDE in 21.4%. Other pesticides were detected in less than 10% of the solid food samples. Pesticide residues were not detected in duplicate beverage samples. In solid food samples, the mean concentration of chlorpyrifos was 0.7 (SD 1.7) g/kg, 1.8 (2.1) for malathion, and 0.2 (0.6) for p,p-DDE. The detection rate and mean concentration of chlorpyrifos, malathion, and p,p-DDE varied by a factor of 2-3 among sampling cycles and significantly according to results from several statistical analyses.

Co-occurrence of chlorpyrifos and malathion in solid food samples was found relatively frequently and also varied with time. Pesticides were detected in food samples with greatest frequency in spring and summer months and with lowest frequency in winter months. These results support the hypothesis that 4-day average exposure to chlorpyrifos and malathion varies over time for this population mean and for individual members of the population and that correlation between exposures to these two organophosphate pesticides can occur.

The measurements of pesticide levels in duplicate plate samples presented here can be used to evaluate and set parameters for dietary exposure models. Key words: chlorpyrifos, p,p-DDE, duplicate plate, food contamination, malathion, pesticide contamination, pesticide exposure.

Environ Health Perspect 109:145-150 (2001). [Online 24 January 2001