First measurement of human exposure to current use pesticides (CUPs) in the atmosphere of central Chile: The case study of Mauco cohort

Chile is a leading agricultural producer and thus consumer of insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides. In Molina, Central Chile, a prospective cohort has been established for studying the incidence and risk factors of chronic diseases in the adult population. Our goals were to measure airborne current use pesticides (CUPs), assess their spatial distribution and potential sources, and estimate health risks for the population in Molina. CUPs were measured using passive air samplers (PAS), deployed on six sites from October 2015 to August 2016. Thirty-eight pesticides were analyzed using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), but only nine of them were detected. Chlorpyrifos (CPF) was detected with air concentrations ranging from 444 to 14 624 (pg m−3 ). Diazinon, atrazine, dimethoate, metolachlor, simazine, terbuthylazine and tebuconazole were also detected; only pendimethalin had concentrations as high as those of CPF, with a maximum of 14 927 (pg m−3 ). Backward wind trajectories were used to estimate locations of potential sources contributing to airborne CUPs concentrations. Most of the exposure to CUPs was associated with local sources, while regional sources southern/ eastern/western of Molina appear to contribute as secondary sources (soil evaporation followed by atmospheric transport) in spring and summer seasons. A health risk assessment using US-EPA's methodology was carried out for inhalation exposure of detected pesticides. None of the measured CUPs were associated with a hazard quotient (HQ) greater than 1, indicating no significant risk due to inhalation of pesticides in Molina's population with the exception of the group of children below 12 years old. However, further investigations are needed to evaluate others CUPs exposure route such as food consumption and dermal exposure to improve our health risk estimations.

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