with distributions of residue concentrations. This approach permits examination of the full range of pesticide exposures in the U.S. pediatric population. As is described in the next section, this approach provides an improved basis over the approach now used for assessing risks for infants and children.

A New Approach to Risk Assessment for Infants and Children

To properly characterize risk to infants and children from pesticide residues in the diet, information is required on (1) food consumption patterns of infants and children, (2) concentrations of pesticide residues in foods consumed by infants and children, and (3) toxic effects of pesticides, especially effects that may be unique to infants and children. If suitable data on these three items are available, risk assessment methods based on the technique of statistical convolution can be used to estimate the likelihood that infants and children who experience specific exposure patterns may be at risk. To characterize potential risks to infants and children in this fashion, the committee utilized data on distributions of pesticide exposure that, in turn, were based on distributions of food consumption merged with data on the distribution of pesticide residue concentrations. The committee found that age-related differences in exposure patterns for 1– to 5-year-old children were most accurately illuminated by using 1-year age groupings of data on children's food consumption.

Exposure estimates should be constructed differently depending on whether acute or chronic effects are of concern. Average daily ingestion of pesticide residues is an appropriate measure of exposure for assessing the risk of chronic toxicity. However, actual individual daily ingestion is more appropriate for assessing acute toxicity. Because chronic toxicity is often related to long-term average exposure, the average daily dietary exposure to pesticide residues may be used as the basis for risk assessment when the potential for delayed, irreversible chronic toxic effects exists. Because acute toxicity is more often mediated by peak exposures occurring within a short period (e.g., over the course of a day or even during a single eating occasion), individual daily intakes are of interest. Examining the distribution of individual daily intakes within the population of interest reflects day-to-day variation in pesticide ingestion both for specific individuals and among individuals.

Children may be exposed to multiple pesticides with a common toxic effect, and estimates of exposure and of risk could therefore be improved by accounting for these simultaneous exposures. This can be accomplished by assigning toxicity equivalence factors to each of the compounds having a common mechanism of action. Total residue exposure is then estimated



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement