Concentrations and temporal trends in pesticide biomarkers in urine of Swedish adolescents, 2000–2017

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Agricultural pesticides are extensively used for weed- and pest control, resulting in residues of these compounds in food. The general population is mainly exposed through dietary intake. Exposure to certain pesticides has been associated with adverse human health outcomes. Our aim was to assess urinary concentrations and temporal trends in the biomarkers of commonly used pesticides. Samples were collected from adolescents (n = 1060) in Scania, Sweden, from 2000 to 2017. Concentrations of 14 pesticide biomarkers were analyzed in urine using LC–MS/MS. Temporal trends in biomarker concentrations (ln-transformed) were evaluated using linear regression. Biomarkers of pyrethroids (3-PBA and DCCA), chlorpyrifos (TCPy), chlormequat (CCC), thiabendazole (OH-TBZ), and mancozeb (ETU) were detected in >90% of the population all sampling years. The biomarkers CCC and TCPy had the highest median concentrations (>0.8 µg/L), whereas the biomarkers of cyfluthrin (4F-3-PBA) and two pyrethroids (CFCA) had the lowest median concentrations (<0.02 µg/L). Increasing temporal trends were found for the biomarkers 3-PBA (3.7%/year), TCPy (1.7%/year) and biomarkers of pyrimethanil (11.9%/year) and tebuconazole (12.2%/year). Decreasing trends were found for CCC (–5.5%/year), OH-TBZ (−5.5%/year), and ETU (−3.9%/year). Our results suggest that Swedish adolescents are commonly exposed to pesticides in low concentrations (median concentrations <3.88 µg/L).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)756-767
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Clinical Medicine
  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health

Free keywords

  • Biomonitoring
  • Dietary exposure
  • Pesticides
  • Population based studies


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