Evaluation of chlorpyrifos residue in breast milk and its metabolite in urine of mothers and their infants feeding exclusively by breast milk in north of Iran

  • Masoud Binesh Brahmand
  • Masud Yunesian
  • Ramin Nabizadeh
  • Simin Nasseri
  • Mahmood Alimohammadi
  • Noushin RastkariEmail author
Research article



The most common method of combating insects in low-income communities and developing countries, is the use of insecticides. The use of organophosphate insecticides is increasing due to their low prices and availability on the market. Chlorpyrifos is a medium-risk insecticide for human. The widespread use of organophosphorus insecticides, especially chlorpyrifos, in residential homes has undoubtedly created many health concerns. Babies have a high sensitivity to pesticides and environmental contaminants because of their evolutionary status. On the other hand, the main source of infants’ exposure who are breast-fed exclusively to environmental pollutants is through breast milk and oral contact with objects that are covered with dust and particles.


In this cross-sectional study, the concentration of chlorpyrifos in breast milk and its metabolite in urine samples of mothers and their under six months infants, feeding exclusively by breast milk in north of Iran have been investigated. The demographic data was collected through interviewing with selected mothers and completion of prepared data collecting forms. The data were statistically analyzed to investigate the relationships between exposure of mothers and their infants to chlorpyrifos.


The mean concentration of chlorpyrifos and its metabolite in mothers’ urine and milk samples and infant’s urines were 1.3 ± 0.6, 2.1 ± 1.4 and 1.4 ± 0.7 μg/L, respectively. Also, the mean concentration of chlorpyrifos in the dust on the house floors was73.4 ± 49 ng/g. There are good correlations between the mean values of chlorpyrifos concentrations and its metabolite in mother’s milk and urine (r = 0.872, p = 0.001), and the mother’s milk and infant’s urine (r = 0.722, p = 0.001). Also, there was a significant correlation between the concentration of chlorpyrifos in floor dust and its metabolites in the infant’s urine (r = 0.554, p = 0.001).


Our study suggests that the infants are the recipient of concentrated forms of chlorpyrifos residues through breast milk and house dust and it is quite well known that OP pesticides are toxic and have different kinds of adverse health effects. However, further research needs to be done to determine what these chemicals are doing to our children.


Breast milk Urine Household insecticide Chlorpyrifos Iran 



This research has been supported by Tehran University of Medical Sciences grant (project No. 96-04-46-36738). Hereby, the cooperation of the International Campus of University and also Institute for Environmental Research (IER) is highly appreciated.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

This research was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Tehran University of Medical Sciences (No.IR.TUMS.SPH.REC.1396. 3630). Participants are volunteers to participate in this research and their information is confidential.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masoud Binesh Brahmand
    • 1
  • Masud Yunesian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ramin Nabizadeh
    • 1
  • Simin Nasseri
    • 1
    • 3
  • Mahmood Alimohammadi
    • 1
  • Noushin Rastkari
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Public HealthTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of research methodology and data analysis, Institute for Environmental Research (IER)Tehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  3. 3.Center for Water Quality Research, Institute for Environmental ResearchTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  4. 4.Center for Air Pollution Research (CAPR), Institute for Environmental Research (IER)Tehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran

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