IAQ1401:              Pesticide Usage and Pesticide Dust Concentrations in Residences of Asthmatic Children Living in Subsidized Housing

Speaker:              Miranda Engberg, MPH


The omnipresence of legal and illegal pesticides still impact the lives of children living in low-income subsidized housing and may significantly impact asthma-related pediatric health. This study aimed to characterize the presence of pesticides, this potential health link, and policy implications for pest control and healthy communities in multifamily dwellings.



This session describes a research study conducted in a subset of houses within a federally funded asthma intervention for low-income subsidized urban housing. These homes were selected to assess the relationship between child asthmatic physical health and pesticide exposure. Dust samples were collected in 30 homes and analyzed for the following 9 pesticides: permethrin (cis and trans), piperonyl butoxide, cypermethrin (cis and trans), bifenthrin, deltamethrin (cis and trans), fenvalerate (cis and trans), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, chlorpyrifos, and diazinon.

Child physical health was assessed through the Children's Health Survey for Asthma of the American Academy of Pediatrics. This research is novel in that very little data collection of this kind is present in the published literature. Results suggest that pesticides that are both currently legal and illegal in the United States are prevalent in inner city Philadelphia residences. Permethrin and cypermethrin were commonly observed in sampled dust.  DDT and related compounds were also observed in several homes in spite of DDT being banned by the US EPA in 1972. Asthma related health was observed to be significantly associated with multiple pesticides. This research has significant policy implications for pest control and healthy communities in multifamily dwellings. It also presents a characterization of pesticide prevalence in Philadelphia.