Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Organophosphate Urinary Metabolite Levels during Pregnancy and after Delivery in Women Living in an Agricultural Community

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Organophosphate Urinary Metabolite Levels during Pregnancy and after Delivery in Women Living in an Agricultural Community

Article excerpt

Little information has been published about pesticide exposures experienced by pregnant women. We measured six dialkyl phosphate (DAP) urinary metabolites of organophosphate (OP) pesticides in 600 pregnant, low-income women living in the Salinas Valley, California, an agricultural area. A total of 28% were employed as farm fieldworkers during pregnancy, and 81% had at least one household member who worked in agriculture. Samples were collected twice during pregnancy (mean = 13 and 26 weeks' gestation, respectively) and just after delivery (mean = 9 days). As in other studies, dimethyldithiophosphate levels were higher than those of other urinary OP metabolites. Total DAP metabolite levels in samples collected after delivery were higher than in samples collected during pregnancy. Median metabolite levels at the first and second prenatal sampling points and at the postpartum collection were 102.8, 106.8, and 227.2 nmol/L, respectively. Both prenatal and postpartum metabolite levels were higher in these Salinas Valley women than in a sample of women of childbearing age in the general U.S. population (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), although the deviation from U.S. reference levels was most pronounced after delivery. Higher DAP metabolite levels in the immediate postpartum period may have implications for estimating dose during pregnancy and for exposure during lactation. Key words: exposure, organophosphate, pesticides, pregnancy, prenatal, urinary metabolites, women. Environ Health Perspect 113:1802-1807 (2005). doi:10.1289/ehp.7894 available via http://dx.doi.org/[Online 18 July 2005]

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Approximately 340 million kilograms of agricultural pesticide active ingredient is used annually in the United States (Donaldson et al. 2002), and 85% of U.S. households store at least one pesticide for home use (Adgate et al. 2000; Whitmore et al. 1992). In 1993, the National Resource Council raised concerns that high levels of environmental pesticide exposure could compromise the health of U.S. children (National Research Council 1993). The Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, to address these concerns, mandates that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limit the amount and type of pesticides on food to levels deemed safe for children. In response to this legislation, several studies have measured the extent of pesticide exposure among the general public. Recent biologic monitoring studies indicate that pesticide exposures are widespread in the U.S. population, including children [Adgate et al. 2001; Barr et al. 2004; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2001; Curl et al. 2003; Fenske et al. 2000; Koch et al. 2002; Loewenherz et al. 1997; Lu et al. 2000; O'Rourke et al. 2000; Shalat et al. 2003].

Few studies to date have focused specifically on exposure of children in utero. Those that have, however, indicate that pregnant women in the United States experience frequent exposures to pesticides (Berkowitz et al. 2003; CDC 2004; Eskenazi et al. 2004; Perera et al. 2003; Whyatt and Barr 2001; Whyatt et al. 2003). In a sample of 386 pregnant New York City women, Berkowitz et al. (2003) reported detectable urinary metabolites for pyrethroids, pentachlorephenol, and chlorpyrifos in 95, 94, and 80% of study participants, respectively. Whyatt et al. (2003) and Perera et al. (2003) have detected diazinon and chlorpyrifos in the air and dust of New York City homes and in the blood samples of pregnant women residing within them. Finally, studies have found metabolites for organophosphates (OPs), pentachlorophenol, naphthalene, ortho-phenylphenol, and several other pesticides in amniotic fluid (Bradman et al. 2003) and infant meconium (Whyatt and Barr 2001). Overall, these studies indicate that detectable pesticide exposures are occurring among pregnant women and their fetuses.

In the present study, we report OP metabolite levels in urine samples collected during and just after pregnancy from a low-income, primarily Latina cohort of women residing in an agricultural region of California. …

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