Quantitative assessment of multiple pesticides in silicone wristbands of children/guardian pairs living in agricultural areas in South Africa

Samuel Fuhrimann*, Hans G.J. Mol, Jonatan Dias, Mohamed Aqiel Dalvie, Martin Röösli, Céline Degrendele, Daniel M. Figueiredo, Anke Huss, Lutzen Portengen, Roel Vermeulen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Little is known about personal and time-integrated exposure to past and current used pesticides in agricultural areas and within-family exposure similarities. We aimed to assess exposure to pesticides using silicone wristbands in child/guardian pairs living on farms and in villages within two agricultural areas in South Africa. Using silicone wristbands, we quantified 21 pesticides in child/guardian pairs in 38 households over six days in 2018. Levels (in ng/g wristband) of pesticides and their transformation products (12 current-use pesticides and nine organochlorine pesticides) were measured using GC–MS/MS. We assessed the correlation between pesticide levels and between household members using Spearman correlation coefficients (rs). Multivariable generalized least squares (GLS) models, using household id as intercept, were used to determine level of agreement between household members, exposure differences between children and guardians and exposure predictors (study area, household location [farm vs. village] and household pesticide use). We detected 16 pesticides with highest detection frequencies for deltamethrin (89%), chlorpyrifos (78%), boscalid (56%), cypermethrin (55%), and p,p′-DDT (48%). Most wristbands (92%) contained two or more pesticides (median seven (range one to 12)). Children had higher concentrations than guardians for four pesticides. Correlation between the pesticide levels were in most cases moderate (rs 0.30–0.68) and stronger in children than in guardians. Five pesticides showed moderate to strong correlation between household members, with the strongest correlation for boscalid (rs 0.84). Exposure differences between the two agricultural areas were observed for chlorpyrifos, diazinon, prothiofos, cypermethrin, boscalid, p,p′-DDT and p,p′-DDE and within areas for cypermethrin. We showed that for several pesticides children had higher exposure levels than guardians. The positive correlations observed for child/guardian pairs living in the same household suggest non-occupational shared exposure pathways in these communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number152330
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2022


  • Boscalid
  • Exposure
  • Household
  • Organochlorines
  • Organophosphates
  • Pesticide
  • Pyrethroids
  • Wristbands


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