Metabolites of pyrethroid insecticides in urine specimens: current exposure in an urban population in Germany.Environ Health Perspect. 2001 Mar; 109(3):213-7.EH
Pyrethroids are important insecticides used in agriculture, forestry, horticulture, and in the home. In humans, they are rapidly metabolized and renally eliminated. In numerous studies, pyrethroid metabolites have been detected in urine after occupational exposure to insecticides. In this study, we used a new, reliable, easy, and sensitive analytical method to assess the internal pyrethroid exposure of an urban population without exposure to pyrethoids at home or at work (children and adults). A total of 1,177 persons took part in this investigation, including 331 children under 6 years of age and 247 children between 6 and 12 years of age. None of them reported exposure to pyrethroids at home or at work. Accordingly, the levels of permethrin found in household dust from their homes were lower than expected (median < limit of detection; 95th percentile, 4.8 mg/kg; maximum value, 19 mg/kg). Urine specimens were analyzed for cis-3-(2,2-dibromo-vinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclo-propanecarboxylic acid (Br(2)CA), cis- and trans-3-(2,2-dichlorovinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropane-carboxylic acid (cis-Cl(2)CA and trans-Cl(2)CA), and 4-fluoro-3-phenoxybenzoic acid (F-PBA) using a gas chromatographic method with mass-selective detection. The limit of detection for pyrethroid metabolites was between 0.1 and 0.2 microg/L. trans-Cl(2)CA was detected in 65% of the urine specimens tested, cis-Cl(2)CA was detected in 30%, and Br(2)CA and F-PBA were found in 19% and 16%, respectively, of the urine specimens. The urinary metabolite levels in children did not differ from those in adults, and there was no correlation between the levels of metabolites and indoor exposure to permethrin in household dust. Moreover, no seasonal correlations could be found. The 95th percentile levels in urine specimens were as follows: Br(2)CA, 0.30 microg/L; cis-Cl(2)CA, 0.51 microg/L; trans-Cl(2)CA, 1.43 microg/L; F-PBA, 0.27 microg/L. Background exposure to pyrethroids was found in the general population; it seems to be caused by the uptake of pyrethroids with the diet. This hypothesis needs to be tested in duplicate diet studies combined with biomonitoring. As long as representative data are lacking, however, the rounded 95th percentile values obtained in our study may be used as reference values for pyrethroid metabolites in urine samples from the population in Germany; 95th percentile values for children and adults are as follows: Br(2)CA, 0.3 microg/L; cis-Cl(2)CA, 0.5 microg/L; trans-Cl(2)CA, 1.5 microg/L; and F-PBA, 0.3 microg/L.