Online Program

Dietary pesticide exposure in children: Identification of commonly ingested pesticides and the impact of the food quality protection act

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lindsay McCormick, MPH, Office of Children's Health Protection, Association of Schools of Public Health/ US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
Matthew Davis, MPH, Office of Children's Health Protection, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
Brenda Foos, MEM, Office of Children's Health Protection, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
Recent research indicates that low-level exposure to pesticides may be associated with impaired neurobehavioral function, pediatric cancer, and asthma. Children are potentially more vulnerable to the negative health effects of pesticides because of their developing organ systems, immature metabolic functioning, and higher consumption of food per unit body weight than adults. Children's unique susceptibility was initially addressed in the 1993 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Report, Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children. In response to growing concern from scientists and the public, Congress enacted the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) in 1996. A major component of FQPA requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to consider an additional 10-fold safety factor to protect infants and children when assessing the health risk of pesticides. In order to evaluate the impact of FQPA on pesticide exposure in children, we first identified pesticides that currently present significant concern for children's health based on the following criteria. Using EPA's 2011 Exposure Factors Handbook, we selected fruits and vegetables consumed at proportionally higher rates by children five and under than adults. We then identified those pesticides with both the highest residue levels and greatest overlapping use on the produce, based on an analysis of data from the USDA's Pesticide Data Program (PDP) conducted by a previous study. The identified pesticides included the organophosphate insecticides Phosmet and Azinphos-methyl. Application of the FQPA 10x safety factor in EPA's risk assessments of these identified pesticides and the potential impact of the factor on allowed pesticide residues are discussed.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Identify pesticides that currently present significant concern for children’s health based on high residue levels on produce consumed at high rates by children. Analyze the application of the FQPA 10x safety factor in select U.S. EPA risk assessments. Discuss children’s unique susceptibility to the harmful health effects of pesticides.

Keyword(s): Children, Pesticide Exposure

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an ASPH Environmental Health Fellow in the U.S. EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection. As a fellow, I support staff on regulatory workgroups, assist in reviewing risk assessments, and conduct independent research pertaining to pesticide exposure in children. I earned my MPH in Environmental Health Science at Columbia’s School of Public Health, where I took courses on environmental policy and risk assessment, and conducted graduate research on the developmental origins of adult disease.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.