Personal exposure assessment of pesticides in residents: The association between hand wipes and urinary biomarkers

A. Oerlemans, D.M. Figueiredo, J.G.J. Mol, R. Nijssen, R.B.M. Anzion, M.F.P. van Dael, J. Duyzer, N. Roeleveld, F.G.M. Russel, R.C.H. Vermeulen, P.J. Scheepers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Residential exposure to pesticides may occur via inhalation of airborne pesticides, direct skin contacts with pesticide-contaminated surfaces, and consumption of food containing pesticide residues. The aim was to study the association of dermal exposure to pesticides between the use and non-use periods, between farmer and non-farmer families and between dermal exposure and the excretion of metabolites from urine in residents living close to treated agricultural fields. Methods: In total, 112 hand wipes and 206 spot urine samples were collected from 16 farmer and 38 non-farmer participants living within 50 m from an agricultural field in the Netherlands. The study took place from May 2016 to December 2017 during the use as well as the non-use periods of pesticides. Hand wipes were analysed for the parent compound and urines samples for the corresponding urinary metabolite of five applied pesticides: asulam, carbendazim (applied as thiophanate-methyl), chlorpropham, prochloraz and tebuconazole. Questionnaire data was used to study potential determinants of occurrence and levels of pesticides in hand wipes according to univariate and multivariate analysis. Results: Carbendazim and tebuconazole concentrations in hand wipes were statistically significantly higher in the pesticide-use period compared to the non-use period. In addition, especially during the use periods, concentrations were statistically significantly higher in farmer families compared to non-farmer families. For asulam, chlorpropham and prochloraz, the frequency of non-detects was too high (57–85%) to be included in this analysis. The carbendazim contents in urine samples and hand wipes were correlated on the first and second day after taking the hand wipe, whereas chlorpropham was only observed to be related on the second day following the spray event. Conclusions: Concentrations in hand wipes were overall higher in pesticide use periods compared to non-use periods and higher in farmer families compared to non-farmer families. Only for carbendazim a strong correlation between concentrations in hand wipes and its main metabolite in urine was observed, indicating dermal exposure via contaminated indoor surfaces. We expect this to be related to the lower vapour pressure and longer environmental lifetime of carbendazim compared to the other pesticides studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111282
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Biomonitoring
  • Exposure assessment
  • Hand wipe
  • Residents
  • Urine


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