Volume 89 Issue 44 | pp. 30-31
Issue Date: October 31, 2011

Detecting Pesticide Exposure

Researchers, clinicians search for new biomarkers to keep up with changes in product usage
Department: Government & Policy | Collection: Life Sciences
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: pesticide, risk assessment, diagnostic, chemical exposure

The only diagnostic routinely used by clinicians to confirm a pesticide poisoning case is a test that measures inhibition of the enzyme cholinesterase. The assay works well for diagnosing patients exposed to organophosphate pesticides, which dominated the pesticide market in the 1990s. But the use of organophosphate pesticides has been declining over the past decade as less toxic alternatives, such as pyrethroids, have become available. There are no diagnostic tests for these increasingly common alternatives.

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