system damage from exposure to lindane. In particular, cases of central nervous system toxicity have been reported from accidental ingestion as well as from single percutaneous exposures (Lee and Groth, 1977). One author reported two instances in which lindane lotion was given orally to children with scabies because of a lack of communication in one case and a language barrier in the other (Taplin and Meinking, 1988). Malathion has been recommended as a preferable treatment over lindane (Taplin et al., 1982; Fine, 1983).


Lanolin, a derivative of sheep's wool, is commonly used as an ointment to treat sore, cracked skin. Mothers who breastfeed frequently use it on their nipples, and it is sometimes applied directly to children's skin. The organophosphate pesticides diazinon and chlorpyrifos and several organochlorine pesticides such as dieldrin have been found at measurable levels in lanolin. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration identified 16 pesticides in lanolin it sampled in 1988. The principal source of these residues is the wool from sheep treated with a pesticide dip to control parasite infestations in the fleece (Cade, 1989). The fat-soluble organophosphate pesticide diazinon presented the greatest concern because of its frequent occurrence (21 of 25 samples) and the high levels identified (up to 29.2 ppm). (T. Levine, EPA, personal commun., 1988).

Occupational Exposures

In agricultural communities, children are often directly exposed to pesticides when they accompany their parents in the field or work there themselves (Pollack et al., 1990). In 1980, some 19 farm workers suffered organophosphate poisoning after working in a cauliflower field (Whorton and Obrinsky, 1983). Five of the workers were 18 years old or younger; three of those were between the ages of 9 and 15 years.

Exposure via Accidental Ingestion

Accidental poisonings are all too common among children. In one study of 37 children who had been hospitalized at Children's Medical Center in Dallas as a result of organophosphate or carbamate pesticide poisoning, ingestion of a liquid was the most common (73%) mechanisms of exposure. Zwiener and Ginsburg (1988) reported that most poisonings took place in the home and here the result of careless storage of the original container or placement in unmarked or uncovered containers.

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