Curwin et al., 2007

Brian Curwin, Misty Hein, Wayne Sanderson, Cynthia Striley, Dick Heederik, Hans Kromhout, Stephen Reynolds, Michael Alavanja, “Urinary Pesticide Concentrations Among Children, Mothers and Fathers Living in Farm and Non-Farm Households in Iowa,” The Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 51:1, January 2007, DOI: 10.1093/annhyg/mel062


In the spring and summer of 2001, 47 fathers, 48 mothers and 117 children of Iowa farm and non-farm households were recruited to participate in a study investigating take-home pesticide exposure. On two occasions ∼1 month apart, urine samples from each participant and dust samples from various rooms were collected from each household and were analyzed for atrazine, metolachlor, glyphosate and chlorpyrifos or their metabolites. The adjusted geometric mean (GM) level of the urine metabolite of atrazine was significantly higher in fathers, mothers and children from farm households compared with those from non-farm households (P ≤ 0.0001). Urine metabolites of chlorpyrifos were significantly higher in farm fathers (P = 0.02) and marginally higher in farm mothers (P = 0.05) when compared with non-farm fathers and mothers, but metolachlor and glyphosate levels were similar between the two groups. GM levels of the urinary metabolites for chlorpyrifos, metolachlor and glyphosate were not significantly different between farm children and non-farm children. Farm children had significantly higher urinary atrazine and chlorpyrifos levels (P = 0.03 and P = 0.03 respectively) when these pesticides were applied by their fathers prior to sample collection than those of farm children where these pesticides were not recently applied. Urinary metabolite concentration was positively associated with pesticide dust concentration in the homes for all pesticides except atrazine in farm mothers; however, the associations were generally not significant. There were generally good correlations for urinary metabolite levels among members of the same family. FULL TEXT

Lebov et al., 2015

Jill F. Lebov, MSPH, PhD, Lawrence S. Engel, PhD, David Richardson, PhD, Susan L. Hogan, PhD, Jane A. Hoppin, ScD, and Dale P. Sandler, PhD, “Pesticide use and risk of end-stage renal disease among licensed pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Health Study,” Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2016, 7, DOI: 10.1136/oemed-2014-102615


OBJECTIVES: Experimental studies suggest a relationship between pesticide exposure and renal impairment, but epidemiological evidence is limited. We evaluated the association between exposure to 41 specific pesticides and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) incidence in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS), a prospective cohort study of licensed pesticide applicators in Iowa and North Carolina.

METHODS: Via linkage to the United States Renal Data System, we identified 320 ESRD cases diagnosed between enrollment (1993-1997) and December 2011 among 55,580 male licensed pesticide applicators. Participants provided pesticide use information via self-administered questionnaires. Lifetime pesticide use was defined as the product of duration and frequency of use and then modified by an intensity factor to account for differences in pesticide application practices. Cox proportional hazards models, adjusted for age and state, were used to estimate associations between ESRD and: 1) ordinal categories of intensity-weighted lifetime use of 41 pesticides, 2) poisoning and high-level pesticide exposures, and 3) pesticide exposure resulting in a medical visit or hospitalization.

RESULTS: Positive exposure-response trends were observed for the herbicides alachlor, atrazine, metolachlor, paraquat, and pendimethalin, and the insecticide chlordane. More than one medical visit due to pesticide use (HR = 2.13; 95% CI: 1.17, 3.89) and hospitalization due to pesticide use (HR = 3.05; 95% CI: 1.67, 5.58) were significantly associated with ESRD.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support an association between ESRD and chronic exposure to specific pesticides and suggest pesticide exposures resulting in medical visits may increase the risk of ESRD. FULL TEXT

Nowell et al., 2018

Nowell Lisa H., Moran Patrick W., Schmidt Travis S., Norman Julia E., Nakagaki Naomi, Shoda Megan E., Mahler Barbara J., Van Metre Peter C., Stone Wesley W., Sandstrom Mark W., Hladik Michelle L., “Complex mixtures of dissolved pesticides show potential aquatic toxicity in a synoptic study of Midwestern U.S. streams,” Science of the Total Environment, 613-614, 2018, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.06.156


Aquatic organisms in streams are exposed to pesticide mixtures that vary in composition over time in response to changes in flow conditions, pesticide inputs to the stream, and pesticide fate and degradation within the stream. To characterize mixtures of dissolved-phase pesticides and degradates in Midwestern streams, a synoptic study was conducted at 100 streams during May–August 2013. In weekly water samples, 94 pesticides and 89 degradates were detected, with a median of 25 compounds detected per sample and 54 detected per site. In a screening-level assessment using aquatic-life benchmarks and the Pesticide Toxicity Index (PTI), potential effects on fish were unlikely in most streams. For invertebrates, potential chronic toxicity was predicted in 53% of streams, punctuated in 12% of streams by acutely toxic exposures. For aquatic plants, acute but likely reversible effects on biomass were predicted in 75% of streams, with potential longer-term effects on plant communities in 9% of streams. Relatively few pesticides in water—atrazine, acetochlor, metolachlor, imidacloprid, fipronil, organophosphate insecticides, and carbendazim—were predicted to be major contributors to potential toxicity. Agricultural streams had the highest potential for effects on plants, especially in May–June, corresponding to high spring-flush herbicide concentrations. Urban streams had higher detection frequencies and concentrations of insecticides and most fungicides than in agricultural streams, and higher potential for invertebrate toxicity, which peaked during July–August. Toxicity-screening predictions for invertebrates were supported by quantile regressions showing significant associations for the Benthic Invertebrate-PTI and imidacloprid concentrations with invertebrate community metrics for MSQA streams, and by mesocosm toxicity testing with imidacloprid showing effects on invertebrate communities at environmentally relevant concentrations. This study documents the most complex pesticide mixtures yet reported in discrete water samples in the U.S. and, using multiple lines of evidence, predicts that pesticides were potentially toxic to nontarget aquatic life in about half of the sampled streams.  FULL TEXT

Weichenthal et al., 2010

Scott Weichenthal, Connie Moase, and Peter Chan, “A Review of Pesticide Exposure and Cancer Incidence in the Agricultural Health Study Cohort,” Environmental Health Perspectives, 118, DOI: 10.1289/ehp.0901731


OBJECTIVE: We reviewed epidemiologic evidence related to occupational pesticide exposures and cancer incidence in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) cohort.

DATA SOURCES: Studies were identified from the AHS publication list available at as well as through a Medline/PubMed database search in March 2009. We also examined citation lists. Findings related to lifetime-days and/or intensity-weighted lifetime-days of pesticide use are the primary focus of this review, because these measures allow for the evaluation of potential exposure–response relationships.

DATA SYNTHESIS: We reviewed 28 studies; most of the 32 pesticides examined were not strongly associated with cancer incidence in pesticide applicators. Increased rate ratios (or odds ratios) and positive exposure–response patterns were reported for 12 pesticides currently registered in Canada and/or the United States (alachlor, aldicarb, carbaryl, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, dicamba, S-ethyl-N,N-dipropylthiocarbamate, imazethapyr, metolachlor, pendimethalin, permethrin, trifluralin). However, estimates of association for specific cancers were often imprecise because of small numbers of exposed cases, and clear monotonic exposure–response patterns were not always apparent. Exposure misclassification is also a concern in the AHS and may limit the analysis of exposure–response patterns. Epidemiologic evidence outside the AHS remains limited with respect to most of the observed associations, but animal toxicity data support the biological plausibility of relationships observed for alachlor, carbaryl, metolachlor, pendimethalin, permethrin, and trifluralin.

CONCLUSIONS: Continued follow-up is needed to clarify associations reported to date. In particular, further evaluation of registered pesticides is warranted.