Determination of the Residue Levels of Some Commonly Used Organophosphorus Pesticides in Breast Milk

Günferah Şahin, Ersin Uskun, Recep Ay, Tufan Nayir
1.818 331


Objectives: There is limited data on levels of organophosphorus pesticides (OPPs) in humans, but no previous reports from Turkey on chemically determined levels of OPP residues in human milk are present. The aim of this study is to determinate and to report the presence of residues of OPPs, which are frequently used in fruit production in the study area (chlorpyrifos, diazinon, ethion, parathion methyl and dichlorvos) in breast milk.

Materials and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, breast milk samples were collected from 100 women living in intense fruit production area (agricultural area, n:50), and resided in provincial center (urban area, n:50), selected by random sampling method. High resolution analyses were performed by a gas chromatography (GC).

Results: Dichlorvos residue was detected in breast milk of 17% of study group. The rate of pesticide residue detection was especially high in breast milk of women with a farmer spouse; always/frequently applying pesticides to the plants, actively working in agriculture pesticide preparation and pesticide application (p<0.05). 

Conclusion: Pesticide residues were detected in breast milk and this showed the necessity of raising consciousness among women living in the study area and near areas of pesticide application about avoiding exposure to pesticides, especially during pregnancy and breast feeding periods. 


Pesticide residues, breast milk, organophosphorus

Full Text:



World Health Organization (WHO)/ United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Public Health Impact of Pesticides Use in Agriculture. Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO); 1990.

Liessa M, Schäfera RB, Schrievera CA. The footprint of pesticide stress in communities—Species traits reveal community effects of toxicants. Sci Total Environ 2008;406:484-90.

Öğüt S, Çetin GN, Küçüköner E. Acute effects of pesticides on users in Isparta (article in Turkish with an abstract in English). Journal of Toxicology 2008;6(1–2):69-72.

Guest JA, Copley MP, Homernic KL. Carcinogenic effects of pesticides. Regul Toxicol Pharm 1991;71(3):387-90.

Turabi MS. Permission of plant protect products (article in Turkish with an abstract in English). Congress of Pesticides Reports, 2007. Ankara: Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers And Architect; 2007: p:50-61.

Takayasu T, Ohshima T, Kondo T. Rapid analysis of pesticide components, xylene, o-dichlorbenzene, cresol and dichlorvos, in blood and urine by pulse heating-gas chromatography- mass spectrometry. Legal Medicine 2001;3:157–61.

World Health Organization (WHO)/ United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Toxic Hazard. Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO); 2014.

World Health Organization (WHO). The world health report 2003 – shaping the future. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2003.

World Health Organization (WHO). Public health impact of pesticides used in agriculture. Geneva: World Health Organization; 1990.

Republic of Turkey Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock. The National Strategy Plan of Apple. Isparta: Fruit Research Station; 2013.

Ay R, Yaşar B, Demirözer O, Aslan B, Yorulmaz S, Kaya M, et al. The determination of the residue levels of some commonly used pesticides in Isparta apple orchards. Turkish Journal of Entomology 2007;31(4):297-306.

Demircan V, Yılmaz H. The Analysis of Pesticide Use in Apple Production in Isparta Province in terms of Economy and Environmental Sensitivity Perspective. Ecology 2005;14(57):15-25.

Öğüt S, Küçüköner E, Gültekin F. The effects of pesticides on greenhouse workers and their produced products. Toxicol Environl Chem 2012;94(2):403–10.

World Health Organization, The Optimal Duration of Exclusive Breastfeeding. A Systematic Review. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2001.

Yakut A, Doğruel N, Akgün N. Infant and child nutrition (article in Turkish with an abstract in English). In: Gürgen H. (ed) Child health and development. Eskişehir: Anadolu University; 1997.

World Health Organization (WHO)/ United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Toxic Hazard. [Date of access 27/11/2016].

World Bank. Toxics and poverty: the impact of toxic substances on the poor in developing countries. Washington, DC: World Bank; 2002.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Childhood pesticide poisoning: information for advocacy and action. Geneva: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)/United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)/World Health Organization (WHO); 2004.

World Health Organization (WHO). Public health impact of pesticides used in agriculture. Geneva: World Health Organization; 1990.

Environmental Protection Agency Manual. Analytical methods fort he analysis of pesticide residues in human and environmental sample. North Carolina: Health Effects Laboratory, Research Triangle Park; 1985.

Üstünbaş HB, Öztürk MA, Hasanoglu E, Dogan M. Organochlorine pesticide residues in human in Kayseri. Hum Exp Toxicol 1994;13:299–302.

Cok I, Bilgili A, Ozdemir M, Ozbek H, Bilgili N, Burgaz S. Organochlorine pesticide residues in human breast milk from agricultural regions of Turkey, 1995–1996. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 1997;59:577–82.

Cok I, Görücü E, Satiroğlu MH, Demircigil GC. Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) levels in human milk samples from Turkish mothers. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 2003;70(1):41-5.

Cok I, Dönmez MK, Karakaya AE. Levels and trends of chlorinated pesticides in human breast milk from Ankara residents: comparison of concentrations in 1984 and 2002. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 2004;72(3):522-9.

Cok I, Satiroglu HM. Polychlorinated biphenyl levels in adipose tissue of primiparous women in Turkey. Environ Int 2004;30:7–10.

Cok I, Toprak D, Durmaz TC, Demirkaya E, Kabukcu C. Determination of organochlorine contaminants in human milk collected at Afyon, Turkey. Fresenius Environ Bul 2005;1:503–8.

Cok I, Yelken C, Durmaz E, Uner M, Sever B, Satır F. Polychlorinated biphenyl and organochlorine pesticide levels in human breast milk from the Mediterranean city Antalya, Turkey. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 2011;86(4):423-7.

Cok I, Mazmanci B, Mazmanci MA, Turgut C, Henkelmann B, Schramm KW. Analysis of human milk to assess exposure to PAHs, PCBs and organochlorine pesticides in the vicinity Mediterranean city Mersin, Turkey. Environ Int 2012;40:63-9.

Voigt K, Bruggemann R, Scherb H, Cok I, Mazmanci B, Mazmanci MA et al. Evaluation of organochlorine pesticides in breast milk samples in Turkey applying features of the partial order technique. Int J Environ Health Res 2013;23(3):226-46.

Erdoğrul O, Covaci A, Kurtul N, Schepens P. Levels of organohalogenated persistent pollutants in human milk from Kahramanmaraş region, Turkey. Environ Int 2004;30(5):659-66.

Öztekin O, Köken R, Bulut S, Alpay F. Quantification of Pesticides Levels in Mother Milk in the City of Afyonkarahisar and Its Epidemiological Influence. Turkiye Klinikleri J Pediatr 2011;20(2):113-8.

Coronado GD, Vigoren EM, Thompson B, Griffith WC, Faustman EM. Organophosphate Pesticide Exposure and Work in Pome Fruit: Evidence for the Take-Home Pesticide Pathway. Environ Health Persp 2006;114(7):999-1006.

Öğüt S, Gültekin F, Kişioğlu AN, Küçüköner E. Oxidative Stress in the Blood of Farm Workers Following Intensive Pesticide Exposure. Toxicol Ind Health. 2011;27(9):820–825.

Cochrane RC. Risk Assessment for Acute Exposure to Pesticides. In: Krieger RI. (ed) Handbook of Pesticide Toxicology. Second Edition. California: Academic Press; 2001:691-704.

Curl CL, Fenske RA, Kissel JC, Shirai JH, Moate TF, Griffith W et al. Evaluation of Take-Home Organophosphorus pesticide Exposure among Agricultural Workers and Their Children. Environ Health Persp 2002;110(12):787-92.

Loewenherz C, Fenske RA, Simcox NJ, Bellamy G, Kalman D. Biological Monitoring of Organophosphorus Pesticide Exposure among Children of Agricultural Workers in Central Washington State. Environ Health Persp 1997;105(12):1344-53.

Sivagnanam S. Potential therapeutic agents in the management of organophosphorus poisoning. Crit Care 2002;6:260-1.

Ware GW, Morgan DP, Estejen BS, Cahill WP, Whitacre DM. Establishment of reentry intervals for organophosphate-treated cotton fields based on human data: I. Ethyl-and methyl parathion. Arch Environ Con Tox 1973;1(1):48–59.

Tanabe S, Gondaria F, Subramanian A. Specific pattern of persistent organochlorine residues in human breast milk from South India. J Agr Food Chem 1990;38:899–903.

Akgür SA, Öztürk P, Yemişcigil A, Ege B. Rapid communication: postmortem distribution of organophosphate insecticides in human autopsy tissues following suicide. J Toxicol Env Heal A 2003;66(23):2187-91.

Pagliuca G, Serraino A, Gazzotti T, Zironi E, Borsari A, Rosmini R. Organophosphorus pesticides residues in Italian raw milk. J Dairy Res 2006;73:1-5.

Salas JH, Gonzalez MM, Noa M, Perez NA, Diaz G, Gutierrez R et al. Organophosphorus Pesticide Residues in Mexican Commercial Pasteurized Milk. J Agr Food Chem 2003;51:4468-71.

Altındağ S, Özgökçe MS. Determination of dichlorvos and dicofol residues after applied on the cucumber under greenhouse conditions in Van. J Agr Sci 2006;16(1):63-8.

Aslan Ş, Türkman A. Biological Removal of Pesticides and Nitrates in Drinking Waters by biological denitrification. 1st National Congress of Environment Reports, Sivas: Cumhuriyet University; 2004:191-8.

Tekbaş ÖF. Chemicals and reproductive health. TAF Prev Med Bull 2006;5(1):50-9.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.