Pesticide exposure among pregnant women in Jerusalem, Israel: Results of a pilot study

Institute of Drug Research, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
Environment international (Impact Factor: 5.56). 10/2010; 37(1):198-203. DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2010.09.002
Source: PubMed


Pesticides have been shown to disrupt neurodevelopment in laboratory animals and in human populations. To date, there have been no studies on exposure to pesticides in pregnant women in Israel, despite reports of widespread exposure in other populations of pregnant women and the importance of evaluating exposure in this susceptible sub-population.
We measured urinary concentrations of organophosphorus (OP) insecticide metabolites and plasma concentrations of OP and other pesticides in 20 pregnant women, recruited in Jerusalem, Israel in 2006, and collected questionnaire data on demographic factors and consumer habits from these women. We compared geometric mean concentrations in subgroups using the Mann-Whitney U-test for independent samples. We compared creatinine-adjusted OP pesticide metabolite concentrations, as well as plasma pesticide concentrations, with other populations of pregnant women.
Creatinine-adjusted total dimethyl (DM) metabolite concentrations were between 4 and 6 times higher in this population compared to other populations of pregnant women in the United States while total diethyl (DE) metabolite concentrations were lower. Dimethylphosphate (DMP) was detected in 74% of the urine samples whereas dimethylthiophosphate (DMTP) was detected in 90% of the urine samples. The carbamate bendiocarb was detected in 89% of the plasma samples, while the OP insecticide chlorpyrifos was detected in 42% of the samples. Mean plasma concentrations of bendiocarb and chlorpyrifos in our sample were 4.4 and 3.9 times higher, respectively, than that of an urban minority cohort from New York City. Twelve women (63%) reported using some form of household pest control during their pregnancy and five (26%) reported using household pest control during the past month. Women with a graduate degree had significantly higher geometric mean concentrations of total urinary DM metabolite concentrations compared to other women (P=0.006). Finally, one woman in the study had exceptionally high concentrations of DMP, DMTP, DMDTP compared to the other women in the study, despite reporting no current occupational exposure to OP pesticides and no other significant exposure sources.
Pregnant women in the Jerusalem area are exposed to OP pesticides and to the carbamate pesticide bendiocarb. It is unclear why total DM metabolites concentrations were much higher in this population compared to other populations of pregnant women in the United States and Netherlands. Finally, the finding of very high DM metabolite concentrations in one woman who reported being moved from her regular laboratory work to administrative work upon becoming pregnant, raises questions about the adequacy of measures to protect pregnant women from pesticide exposures during pregnancy.

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    • "The sample size (n ¼125) selected is consistent with previous pilot biomonitoring studies by other authors (Castaño et al., 2012; Berman et al., 2011; Volkel et al., 2008; Kubwabo et al., 2004) and the recommendation of the International Federation of Clinical Chemists (IFCC) on the calculation and application of coverage intervals for biological reference values (Poulsen et al., 1997). The age range (6–11 years) was selected in order to compare with data from other studies and HBM programs (CDC, 2009; Health Canada, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: The exposure to pesticides amongst school-aged children (6–11 years old) was assessed in this study. One hundred twenty-five volunteer children were selected from two public schools located in an agricultural and in an urban area of Valencia Region, Spain. Twenty pesticide metabolites were analyzed in children׳s urine as biomarkers of exposure to organophosphate (OP) insecticides, synthetic pyrethroid insecticides, and herbicides. These data were combined with a survey to evaluate the main predictors of pesticide exposure in the children׳s population. A total of 15 metabolites were present in the urine samples with detection frequencies (DF) ranging from 5% to 86%. The most frequently detected metabolites with DF>53%, were 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCPy, metabolite of chlorpyrifos), diethyl phosphate (DEP, generic metabolite of OP insecticides), 2-isopropyl-4-methyl-6-hydroxypyrimidine (IMPY, metabolite of diazinon) and para-nitrophenol (PNP, metabolite of parathion and methyl parathion). The calculated geometric means ranged from 0.47 to 3.36 µg/g creatinine, with TCPy and IMPY showing the higher mean concentrations. Statistical significant differences were found between exposure subgroups (Mann–Whitney test, p<0.05) for TCPy, DEP, and IMPY. Children living in the agricultural area had significantly higher concentrations of DEP than those living in the urban area. In contrast, children aged 6–8 years from the urban area, showed statistically higher IMPY levels than those from agricultural area. Higher levels of TCPy were also found in children with high consumption of vegetables and higher levels of DEP in children whose parents did not have university degree studies. The multivariable regression analysis showed that age, vegetable consumption, and residential use of pesticides were predictors of exposure for TCPy, and IMPY; whereas location and vegetable consumption were factors associated with DEP concentrations. Creatinine concentrations were the most important predictors of urinary TCPy and PNP metabolites.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Environmental Research
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    • "e l s e v i e r . c o m / l o c a t e / e n v i n t measured exposure of 19 pregnant women in Jerusalem and found relatively high levels of exposure to OP pesticides (Berman et al., 2011). However, data on exposure to OPs (urinary DAP concentrations) in the general population in Israel and the region are lacking. "
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    ABSTRACT: Exposure to organophosphate pesticides (OPs) in agricultural and urban populations has been associated with a range of adverse health effects. The purpose of the current study was to estimate exposure to OPs in the general adult population in Israel and to determine dietary and demographic predictors of exposure. We measured six non-specific organophosphate pesticide metabolites (dialkyl phosphates) in urine samples collected from 247 Israeli adults from the general population. We collected detailed demographic and dietary data from these individuals, and explored associations between demographic and dietary characteristics and urinary dialkyl phosphate concentrations. OP metabolites were detectable in all urine samples. Concentrations of several dialkyl phosphate metabolites (dimethylphosphate, dimethylthiophosphate, diethylphosphate) were high in our study population relative to the general populations in the US and Canada and were comparable to those reported in 2010 in France. Total dialkyl phosphates were higher in individuals with fruit consumption above the 75th percentile. In a multivariate analysis, total molar dialkyl phosphate concentration increased with age and was higher in individuals with high income compared to individuals with the lowest income. Total diethyl metabolite concentrations were higher in females and in study participants whose fruit consumption was above the 75th percentile. In conclusion, we found that levels of exposure to OP pesticides were high in our study population compared to the general population in the US and Canada and that intake of fruits is an important source of exposure.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Environment international
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    • "Because exposure typically occurs through multiple routes and because dominant routes of exposure vary (Egeghy et al. 2005; Pang et al. 2002), assessing exposure to OP pesticides is not a trivial process. Measurement of exposure markers has been used to estimate the absorbed dose of OP pesticides in several matrices (Berman et al. 2011; Whyatt et al. 2003, 2004), but particularly in urine. "
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    ABSTRACT: The Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) was signed into law in 1996 to strengthen the regulation of pesticide tolerances in food. Organophosphorus (OP) insecticides were the first group of pesticides reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the new law. Our goal was to determine whether urinary concentrations of dialkylphosphate (DAP) metabolites of OP pesticides declined between the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III and NHANES 1999-2004. Using mass spectrometry-based methods, we analyzed urine samples from a nationally representative sample of 2,874 adults 20-59 years of age in NHANES 1999-2004 and samples from a non-nationally representative sample of 197 adult participants for NHANES III (1988-1994) for six common DAP metabolites of OP pesticides. Median urinary DAP concentrations decreased by more than half between NHANES III and NHANES 2003-2004. Reductions of about 50%-90% were also observed for 95th percentile concentrations of five of the six metabolites. Frequencies of detection (FODs) decreased in all six metabolites (< 50% reduction). On average, median and 95th percentile concentrations and FODs showed a larger decrease in diethylphosphate metabolites than dimethylphosphate metabolites. Human exposure to OP insecticides as assessed by urinary DAP concentrations has decreased since the implementation of the FQPA, although we cannot be certain that U.S. EPA actions in response to the FQPA directly caused the decrease in DAP concentrations.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Environmental Health Perspectives
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