Chlorpyrifos exposures in Egyptian cotton field workers

Fayssal M. Farahat, Richard A. Fenske, James R. Olson, Kit Galvin, Matthew R. Bonner, Diane Rohlman, Taghreed M. Farahat, Pamela J. Lein, W. Kent Anger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Neurobehavioral deficits have been reported in Egyptian pesticide application teams using organophosphorus (OP) pesticides, but whether these effects are related to OP pesticide exposures has yet to be established. In preparation for a comprehensive study of the relationship between OP pesticide dose and neurobehavioral deficits, we assessed exposure within this population. We conducted occupational surveys and workplace observations, and collected air, dermal patch and biological samples from applicators, technicians and engineers involved in chlorpyrifos applications during cotton production to test the hypotheses that: (1) dermal exposure was an important contributor to internal dose and varied across body regions; and (2) substantial differences would be seen across the three job categories. Applicators were substantially younger and had shorter exposure histories than did technicians and engineers. Applicators and technicians were observed to have relatively high levels of skin or clothing contact with pesticide-treated foliage as they walked through the fields. Both dermal patch loadings of chlorpyrifos and measurements of a chlorpyrifos-specific metabolite (TCPy) in urine confirmed substantial exposure to and skin absorption of chlorpyrifos that varied according to job category; and dermal patch loading was significantly higher on the thighs than on the forearms. These findings support our hypotheses and support the need for research to examine neurobehavioral performance and exposures in this population. More importantly, the exposures reported here are sufficiently high to recommend urgent changes in work practices amongst these workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-304
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Biomonitoring
  • Chlorpyrifos
  • Dermal exposure
  • Dermal patches
  • Metabolites
  • Organophosphorus pesticides
  • Pesticide applicators
  • TCPy
  • Urinary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology


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