Exposure assessment of organochlorine pesticides, arsenic, and lead in children from the major agricultural areas in Sonora, Mexico

Maria M. Meza-Montenegro, Ana I. Valenzuela-Quintanar, José J. Balderas-Cortés, Leticia Yañez-Estrada, Maria L. Gutiérrez-Coronado, Alberto Cuevas-Robles, A. Jay Gandolfi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


There is a lack of information of exposure to organochlorine pesticides (OCP) and some metals, such as lead (Pb) and arsenic (As), both of which were used as arsenicals pesticides, in children living in the major agricultural areas of Mexico. The objective of this study was to assess the exposure of children to different OCP, As, and Pb in the Yaqui and Mayo valleys of Sonora to generate population baseline levels of these toxins. A cross-sectional study was undertaken in 165 children (age 6-12 years old) from 10 communities from both valleys during 2009. Blood samples were analyzed for OCP and Pb and first morning void urine for inorganic As (InAs). All of the blood samples had detectable levels of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethylene (p,p′-DDE) ranging from 0.25 to 10.3 μg/L. However lindane, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (p,p′-DDT), aldrin, and endosulfan were detected in far less of the population (36.4, 23.6, 9.1, and 3 %, respectively). Methoxychlor and endrin were not found in any sample. The average value of Pb in this population was 3.2 μg Pb/dL (range 0.17-9.0) with 8.5 % of the samples having levels <5.0 μg Pb/dL. Urinary As levels ranged from 5.4 to 199 μg As/L with an average value of 31.0 μg As/L. Levels > 50 μg/L were observed in 12.7 % of the samples. Our results show that is important to start a risk-reduction program to decrease exposure to these toxins in Mexican communities. In addition, the results can be used to establish the baseline levels of exposure to these toxins in this agricultural region and may be used as a reference point for regulatory agencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-527
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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