Exposure of consumers and farmers to organophosphate and synthetic pyrethroid insecticides in Northern Thailand

  • Surat Hongsibsong
  • Tippawan PrapamontolEmail author
  • Jie-Xian Dong
  • Candace S. Bever
  • Zhen-Lin Xu
  • Shirley J. Gee
  • Bruce D. HammockEmail author
Research Article


Organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides are used for controlling residential and agricultural insect pests and disease-carrying vectors in Thailand especially in the northern region. Chiang Rai and Nan Provinces are well known for agricultural production. The aim of the present study was to assess the level of exposure to organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides in 51 consumers and 49 farmers living in Chiang Rai and Nan Provinces by monitoring the urinary metabolites 6-dialkylphosphates (DAPs) and 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3-PBA) as biomarkers of exposure to organophosphates and pyrethroids. The results showed at least one metabolite was present in all subjects indicating that consumers and farmers were exposed to these pesticides. Concentrations of organophosphate and pyrethroid metabolites in consumers and farmers were similar except diethylthiophosphate which was significantly higher in farmers. Diethyldithiophosphate and 3-PBA concentrations were significantly different between the group who had reported using and not using pesticide in their house.


Agriculture Insecticides Exposure DAPs 3-PBA Immunoassay GC-FPD 



The authors gratefully acknowledge Chiang Mai University, UC Davis Superfund Research Program P42 ES04699, and UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Core Center P30 ES02351 for financial support.


This study was funded by UC Davis Superfund Research Program P42 ES04699, and UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Core Center P30 ES02351.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Ahn KC, Watanabe T, Gee SJ, Hammock BD (2004) Hapten and antibody production for a sensitive immunoassay determining a human urinary metabolite of the pyrethroid insecticide permethrin. J Agric Food Chem 52:4583–4594CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahn KC, Gee SJ, Kim HJ et al (2011) Immunochemical analysis of 3-phenoxybenzoic acid, a biomarker of forestry worker exposure to pyrethroid insecticides. Anal Bioanal Chem 401:1285–1293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Akoto O, Gavor S, Appah MK, Apau J (2015) Estimation of human health risk associated with the consumption of pesticide-contaminated vegetables from Kumasi. Ghana Environ Monit Assess 187:244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Babina K, Dollard M, Pilotto L, Edwards JW (2012) Environmental exposure to organophosphorus and pyrethroid pesticides in South Australian preschool children: a cross sectional study. Environ Int 48:109–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bradman A et al (2015) Effect of organic diet intervention on pesticide exposures in young children living in low-income urban and agricultural communities. Environ Health Perspect 123:1086–1093CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen C, Qian Y, Liu X, Tao C, Liang Y, Li Y (2012) Risk assessment of chlorpyrifos on rice and cabbage in China. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 62:125–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cotton J, Lewandowski P, Brumby S (2015) Cholinesterase Research Outreach Project (CROP): measuring cholinesterase activity and pesticide use in an agricultural community. BMC Public Health 15:748CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ferland S, Cote J, Ratelle M, Thuot R, Bouchard M (2015) Detailed urinary excretion time courses of biomarkers of exposure to permethrin and estimated exposure in workers of a corn production farm in Quebec, Canada. Ann Occup Hyg 59:1152–1167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fortes C, Mastroeni S, Pilla MA, Antonelli G, Lunghini L, Aprea C (2013) The relation between dietary habits and urinary levels of 3-phenoxybenzoic acid, a pyrethroid metabolite. Food Chem Toxicol 52:91–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Harnpicharnchai K, Chaiear N, Charerntanyarak L (2013) Residues of organophosphate pesticides used in vegetable cultivation in ambient air, surface water and soil in Bueng Niam Subdistrict, Khon Kaen, Thailand Southeast Asian. J Trop Med Public Health 44:1088–1097Google Scholar
  11. Hongsibsong S, Kerdnoi T, Polyiem W, Srinual N, Patarasiriwong V, Prapamontol T (2015) Blood cholinesterase activity levels of farmers in winter and hot season of Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 25:7129–7134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hongsibsong S, Sittitoon N, Sapbamrer R (2017) Association of health symptoms with low-level exposure to organophosphates, DNA damage, AChE activity, and occupational knowledge and practice among rice, corn, and double-crop farmers. J Occup Health 59:165–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Joly C, Gay-Queheillard J, Leke A, Chardon K, Delanaud S, Bach V, Khorsi-Cauet H (2013) Impact of chronic exposure to low doses of chlorpyrifos on the intestinal microbiota in the Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem (SHIME) and in the rat. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 20:2726–2734CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Khemiri R, Cote J, Fetoui H, Bouchard M (2017) Documenting the kinetic time course of lambda-cyhalothrin metabolites in orally exposed volunteers for the interpretation of biomonitoring data. Toxicol Lett 276:115–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lappharat S, Siriwong W, Taneepanichskul N, Borjan M, Maldonado Perez H, Robson M (2014) Health risk assessment related to dermal exposure of chlorpyrifos: a case study of rice growing farmers in Nakhon Nayok Province, Central Thailand. J Agromed 19:294–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Noort D, van Zuylen A, Fidder A, van Ommen B, Hulst AG (2008) Protein adduct formation by glucuronide metabolites of permethrin. Chem Res Toxicol 21:1396–1406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Panuwet P, Siriwong W, Prapamontol T, Ryana B, Nancy F, Robsone MG, Barra DB (2012) Agricultural pesticide management in Thailand: situation and population health risk. Environ Sci Policy 17:16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Prapamontol T et al (2014) Cross validation of gas chromatography-flame photometric detection and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry methods for measuring dialkylphosphate metabolites of organophosphate pesticides in human urine. Int J Hyg Environ Health 217:554–566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ratelle M, Cote J, Bouchard M (2015) Time profiles and toxicokinetic parameters of key biomarkers of exposure to cypermethrin in orally exposed volunteers compared with previously available kinetic data following permethrin exposure. J Appl Toxicol 35:1586–1593CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Sapbamrer R, Hongsibsong S (2014) Organophosphorus pesticide residues in vegetables from farms, markets, and a supermarket around Kwan Phayao Lake of Northern Thailand. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 67:60–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sapbamrer R, Hongsibsong S, Kerdnoi T (2017) Urinary dialkylphosphate metabolites and health symptoms among farmers in Thailand. Arch Environ Occup Health 72:145–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sudakin DL, Stone DL (2011) Dialkyl phosphates as biomarkers of organophosphates: the current divide between epidemiology and clinical toxicology. Clin Toxicol (Phila) 49:771–781CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Tawatsin A (2015) Pesticides used in Thailand and toxic effects to human health. Med Res Arch[S.l.] n. 3, june 2015. ISSN 2375-1924. Accessed 20 Jan 2019
  24. Thiphom S et al (2012) An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for detecting 3-phenoxybenzoic acid in plasma and its application in farmers and consumers. Anal Methods 4:3772–3778CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Thiphom S et al (2014) Determination of the pyrethroid insecticide metabolite 3-PBA in plasma and urine samples from farmer and consumer groups in northern Thailand. J Environ Sci Health B 49:15–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wu C, Liu P, Zheng L, Chen J, Zhou Z (2010) GC-FPD measurement of urinary dialkylphosphate metabolites of organophosphorous pesticides as pentafluorobenzyl derivatives in occupationally exposed workers and in a general population in Shanghai (China). J Chromatogr B 878:2575–2581CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit (BVL) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Surat Hongsibsong
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Tippawan Prapamontol
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jie-Xian Dong
    • 3
  • Candace S. Bever
    • 4
  • Zhen-Lin Xu
    • 5
  • Shirley J. Gee
    • 3
  • Bruce D. Hammock
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Non communicable disease (NCD) Center of Excellence, Research Institute for Health SciencesChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  2. 2.Environment and Health Research Unit, Center for Applied Health Science Research, Research Institute for Health SciencesChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  3. 3.Department of Entomology and Nematology and UCD Comprehensive Cancer CenterUniversity of California DavisDavisUSA
  4. 4.Agricultural Research Service, Western Regional Research Center, Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention UnitUSDAAlbanyUSA
  5. 5.Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Food Quality and Safety, College of Food ScienceSouth China Agricultural UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations