Quantified activity pattern data from 6 to 27-month-old farmworker children for use in exposure assessment

Paloma Beamer, Maya E. Key, Alesia C. Ferguson, Robert A. Canales, Willa Auyeung, James O. Leckie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


This study was conducted to describe exposure prone behaviors of infants and toddlers in the farmworker community. Analysis of hand and mouth contact frequencies and durations aids understanding of how children interact with their environment and are exposed via contact with surfaces. All 23 participating children (8 female infants, 5 male infants, 5 female toddlers and 5 male toddlers) lived with at least one farmworker. Children were videotaped at home for 2-6 h. Video footage was translated into micro-level activity time series (MLATS) for both hands and the mouth. MLATS were processed to calculate hourly duration in microenvironments, contact frequency, hourly contact duration and median contact duration. The median hourly duration spent indoors was 53 min/h. The median hand-to-mouth frequency was 15.2 events/h and the median object-to-mouth frequency was 27.2 events/h. The hourly mouthing duration was 1.2 and 2.2 min/h with the hands and objects, respectively. The median mouthing duration with hands and objects was 2 s. The median contact frequency for both hands combined was 689.4 events/h with an hourly contact duration of 100.5 min/h and a median contact duration of 3 s. Infants had higher mouthing frequencies with non-dietary objects while toddlers had higher mouthing frequencies with objects associated with pica (i.e., paper). Boys had higher contact frequencies while girls had longer contact durations. These sub-group differences indicate factors such as age and gender should be accounted for when conducting exposure assessments. Contact frequencies in this study are higher than current US EPA recommendations, questioning their protective value for infants and toddlers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-246
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • Activity patterns
  • Dermal exposure
  • Mouthing behavior
  • Non-dietary ingestion exposure
  • Pesticide exposure
  • Video translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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