The relation between dietary habits and urinary levels of 3-phenoxybenzoic acid, a pyrethroid metabolite

C. Fortes, S. Mastroeni, M. A. Pilla, G. Antonelli, L. Lunghini, C. Aprea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Concerns about pesticide exposure through food consumption have increased during the past several years. Pyrethroids are applied as insecticides throughout the world. Human metabolism of pyrethroids results in urinary metabolites that are suitable for biological monitoring. The objective of our study was to investigate the relation between food consumption and urinary levels of 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3-PBA), a general metabolite of pyrethroids, in a non-occupational exposed adult population from the IDI-IRCCS, Rome, Italy. Information on socio-demographic characteristics, smoking, diet and self-reported household pesticide exposure was collected. Urinary 3-PBA level of each subject was measured and adjusted by urinary creatinine. We found that people consuming both raw and cooked vegetables five times weekly or more had higher mean levels of 3-PBA in urine (1.03 μg/g creatinine versus 0.52 μg/g creatinine; p= 0.009 and 0.99 μg/g creatinine versus 0.58 μg/g creatinine; p= 0.01, respectively) than subjects consuming less than five times weekly. In a multivariate model, after adjusting for age, sex, BMI, smoking and household insecticide exposure, high intake of raw vegetables (OR: 5.31; 95%CI: 1.32-21.3) and high intake of cooked vegetables, in particular cruciferous (OR: 4.67; 95%CI: 1.07-20.5) and leafy vegetables (OR: 6.88; 95%CI: 1.50-31.7), were associated with high urine 3-PBA levels (≥0.70 μg/g creatinine). The results of this study suggest that part of the variation in pyrethrois intake is explained by vegetable intake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-96
Number of pages6
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • 3-Phenoxybenzoic acid
  • Food intake
  • Pyrethroid insecticides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Toxicology


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