Harris, S.A., Villeneuve, P.J., Crawley, C.D., Mays, J.E., Yeary, R.A., Hurto, K.A., & Meeker, J.D. National study of exposure to pesticides among professional applicators: an investigation based on urinary biomarkers. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2010; 58(18):10253-61.
Epidemiologic studies of pesticides have been subject to important biases arising from exposure misclassification. Although turf applicators are exposed to a variety of pesticides, these exposures have not been well characterized. This paper describes a repeated measures study of 135 TruGreen applicators over three spraying seasons via the collection of 1028 urine samples. These applicators were employed in six cities across the United States. Twenty-four-hour estimates (mug) were calculated for the parent compounds 2,4-D, MCPA, mecoprop, dicamba, and imidacloprid and for the insecticide metabolites MPA and 6-CNA. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize the urinary levels of these pesticides, whereas mixed models were applied to describe the variance apportionment with respect to city, season, individual, and day of sampling. The contributions to the overall variance explained by each of these factors varied considerably by the type of pesticide. The implications for characterizing exposures in these workers within the context of a cohort study are discussed.