Measurement of organophosphate pesticides, organochlorine pesticides, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in household dust from two rural villages in Nepal
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Although there are few published studies of residential exposures to environmental contaminants in Nepal, there may be substantial exposures to multiple contaminants in Nepali households. Pesticides, which can be harmful to human health, are often used by Nepali farmers, and many farmers lack an understanding of the appropriate procedures for the safe use, handling and storage of pesticides. In addition, many Nepali families use wood burning stoves, leading to the potential for exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from wood smoke. This study measured the levels of four organophosphate pesticides, 22 organochlorine pesticides, and over thirty polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in house dust from two rural Nepali villages. Floor dust samples were collected in early summer from a total of 18 households, including nine households in the village of Keraghari, in Kavrepalanchok District, and nine homes in the village of Kafaldanda, in Lalitpur District. These villages have similar environmental features and are located at an altitude of approximately 2,000 meters. In these two villages, many of the homes have improved cookstoves to reduce smoke levels in the homes. The dust samples were collected using pre-ashed glass fiber filter cloths saturated with isopropyl alcohol. In both villages, the organochlorine pesticide that was present in the highest concentrations was the DDT metabolite p,p’-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (4,4’-DDE). Among the organophosphates, methyl parathion accounted for much of the organophosphate mass detected. Across both villages, the median total organochlorine pesticide value (287 ng/m2) was 5-fold higher than the median total organophosphate pesticide value (54.3 ng/m2). The median total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon concentration in house dust from both villages was 14,700 ng/m2. Interventions are needed to improve safe handling and use of pesticides in Nepali villages. Additional studies are also needed to assess the extent to which improved cookstoves reduce polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure, during both winter and summer.
DepartmentEnvironmental and Occupation Health
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