Organophosphate pesticide exposure and neurobehavioral performance in agricultural and nonagricultural Hispanic workers

Joan Rothlein, Diane Rohlman, Michael Lasarev, Jackie Phillips, Juan Muniz, Linda A. McCauley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Our understanding of the health risks of farmworkers exposed to pesticides in their work and home environments is rapidly increasing, although studies designed to examine the possible neurobehavioral effects of low-level chronic pesticide exposure are limited. We measured dialkyl phosphate urinary metabolite levels, collected environmental dust samples from a subset of homes, obtained information on work practices, and conducted neurobehavioral tests on a sample of farmworkers in Oregon. Significant correlations between urinary methyl metabolite levels and total methyl organophosphate (azinphos-methyl, phosmet, malathion) house dust levels were observed. We found the neurobehavioral performance of Hispanic immigrant farmworkers to be lower than that observed in a nonagricultural Hispanic immigrant population, and within the sample of agricultural workers there was a positive correlation between urinary organophosphate metabolite levels and poorer performance on some neurobehavioral tests. These findings add to an increasing body of evidence of the association between low levels of pesticide exposure and deficits in neurobehavioral performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-696
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomakers
  • Farmworkers
  • Neurobehavior
  • Occupational health
  • Organophosphates
  • Pesticides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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