Longitudinal assessment of chlorpyrifos exposure and effect biomarkers in adolescent Egyptian agricultural workers

Alice L. Crane
Gaafar Abdel Rasoul
Ahmed A. Ismail
Olfat Hendy
Matthew R. Bonner
Michael R. Lasarev
Manal Al-Batanony
Steven T. Singleton
Khalid Khan, University of Iowa
James R. Olson
Diane S. Rohlman, University of Iowa


Chlorpyrifos (CPF) is applied seasonally in Egypt by adolescent agricultural workers and the extent of occupational exposure and the potential for environmental CPF exposure in this population is poorly understood. Adolescent pesticide applicators (n¼57; 12–21 years of age) and age-matched non-applicators (n¼38) from the same villages were followed for 10 months in 2010, spanning pre-application through post-application. Eight urine and five blood samples were collected from participants within this time period. Blood acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE; exposure/effect biomarker) and urine 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCPy; exposure biomarker) were used to assess occupational CPF exposures in pesticide applicators and environmental exposures in non-applicators. Applicators demonstrated significantly higher TCPy concentration and BChE depression than non-applicators throughout CPF application. This difference persisted for 4–7 weeks after the cessation of agricultural spraying. However, both groups exhibited significantly elevated TCPy and depressed BChE, compared with their respective baseline. The peak TCPy levels during the spray season (95% confidence interval (CI)) for non-applicators and applicators reached 16.8 (9.87–28.5) and 137 (57.4–329) ug/g creatinine, respectively. BChE levels (95% CIs) during the spray were as follows: 1.47 (1.28–1.68) for non-applicators and 0.47 (0.24–0.94) U/ml for applicators. The longitudinal assessment of CPF biomarkers provided robust measures of exposure and effect throughout CPF application in adolescents and revealed significant exposures in both applicators and non-applicators. Biomarker data in the non-applicators, which mirrored that of the applicators, indicated that non-applicators received environmental CPF exposures. This suggests that similar exposures may occur in other residents of this region during periods of pesticide application.