Bradman, Asa; Kogut, Katherine; Eisen, Ellen A; Jewell, Nicholas P; Quiros-Alcala, Lesliam; Castorina, Rosemary; Chevrier, Jonathan; Holland, Nina T;  Barr, Dana Boyd; Kavanagh-Baird, Geri; Eskenazi, Brenda, “Variability of organophosphorous pesticide metabolite levels in spot and 24-hr urine samples collected from young children during 1 week,” Environmental Health Perspectives, 2013, 121:118-124. DOI:10.1289/ehp.1104808.


BACKGROUND: Dialkyl phosphate (DAP) metabolites in spot urine samples are frequently used to characterize children’s exposures to organophosphorous (OP) pesticides. However, variable exposure and short biological half-lives of OP pesticides could result in highly variable measurements, leading to exposure misclassification.

OBJECTIVE: We examined within- and between-child variability in DAP metabolites in urine samples collected during 1 week.

METHODS: We collected spot urine samples over 7 consecutive days from 25 children (3-6 years of age). On two of the days, we collected 24-hr voids. We assessed the reproducibility of urinary DAP metabolite concentrations and evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of spot urine samples as predictors of high (top 20%) or elevated (top 40%) weekly average DAP metabolite concentrations.

RESULTS: Within-child variance exceeded between-child variance by a factor of two to eight, depending on metabolite grouping. Although total DAP concentrations in single spot urine samples were moderately to strongly associated with concentrations in same-day 24-hr samples (r approximately 0.6-0.8, p < 0.01), concentrations in spot samples collected > 1 day apart and in 24-hr samples collected 3 days apart were weakly correlated (r approximately -0.21 to 0.38). Single spot samples predicted high (top 20%) and elevated (top 40%) full-week average total DAP excretion with only moderate sensitivity ( approximately 0.52 and approximately 0.67, respectively) but relatively high specificity ( approximately 0.88 and approximately 0.78, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: The high variability we observed in children’s DAP metabolite concentrations suggests that single-day urine samples provide only a brief snapshot of exposure. Sensitivity analyses suggest that classification of cumulative OP exposure based on spot samples is prone to type 2 classification errors.  FULL TEXT