Original Public Health Research: Household Pesticide Use in Colonias in Webb and Hidalgo Counties, South Texas, as Assessed Using a Pesticide Inventory
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Pesticide exposures are associated with multiple adverse health outcomes. Previous studies have shown use of pesticides inside homes along the United States-Mexico border. This inventory assessed household pesticide use in low-income, predominantly Hispanic colonias in Webb and Hidalgo Counties, near the Texas-Mexico border. Three rounds of data were collected, in Webb County in the spring and fall, and Hidalgo County in the spring. Participants were recruited using convenience sampling. Promotoras (lay health workers) asked participants to show them the pesticide containers in the home, then completed a pesticide inventory form for each container. The collected data included the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration number, application frequency, and where each pesticide was used. In each of three sampling rounds, between 89.5%-92.1% of the pesticides had EPA registration numbers and were in their original, labelled containers. Over half the pesticides (ranging from 55.6% to 74.5% in each round) were used once per month or more often. Pyrethroids were the most common active ingredients overall (accounting for 47.3% to 66.7% of the active ingredients identified in the three rounds). In all rounds, over 30% of the pesticides identifi ed in this inventory were reportedly used in kitchen cabinets or on kitchen surfaces used for food. Within the subset of pesticides used in kitchen cabinets or on food surfaces, the most common active ingredients were pyrethroids (ranging from 50.0% to 80.0% in the three rounds). The results suggest additional research is needed regarding the frequency of pesticide use indoors, particularly on food surfaces.