Pesticide loadings of select organophosphate and pyrethroid pesticides in urban public housing

Rhona Julien, Gary Adamkiewicz, Jonathan I. Levy, Deborah H Bennett, Marcia Nishioka, John D. Spengler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


We investigated the magnitude and distribution of pyrethroid and organophosphate pesticide loadings within public housing dwellings in Boston, Massachusetts and compared the results using various sampling methods. We collected dust matrices from living room and kitchen in 42 apartments and analyzed for eleven pyrethoids (e.g., permethrin and cyfluthrin) and two organophosphates (chlorpyrifos and diazinon) in house dust using GC/MS. Agreement between sampling methods were evaluated using Spearman correlations and Kappa statistics. Permethrin and chlorpyrifos were detected in kitchen floor wipes in all homes, followed in frequency of detects by diazinon (98%), cypermethrin (90%) and cyfluthrin (71%). At least six pesticides were detected in kitchen floor wipes in the majority of the homes (range 3-8). Positive and statistically significant correlations among dust matrices were observed between kitchen floor wipes and living room vacuum dust, including for diazinon (r=0.62) and cyfluthrin (r=0.69). Detection of several pesticides including banned or restricted use products in some public housing units, underscore the need for alternative pest management strategies that embrace the safe and judicious use of pest control products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Chlorpyrifos
  • House dust
  • Pesticides
  • Public housing
  • Pyrethoids
  • Urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Toxicology
  • Epidemiology


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