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Environmental Pesticide Exposure and Neurobehavioral Effects among Children of Nicaraguan Agricultural Workers

Rodríguez, Teresa, 1966- (author)
Uppsala universitet, Institutionen för medicinska vetenskaper, Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Wesseling, Catharina, PhD (thesis advisor)
Central American Institute for Studies on Toxic Substances (IRET), Universidad Nacional, Heredia, Costa Rica and Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences
Lundberg, Ingvar, Professor (thesis advisor)
Uppsala universitet, Institutionen för medicinska vetenskaper
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van Wendel de Joode, Berna, PhD (thesis advisor)
Central American Institute for Studies on Toxic Substances (IRET), Universidad Nacional, Heredia, Costa Rica
Bergdahl, Ingvar, Docent (opponent)
Umeå Universitet
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ISBN 978-91-554-8488-0
Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2012
English 66s.
Series: Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, 1651-6206

  • Doctoral thesis (other academic)
Abstract Subject headings
  • <p><strong>Background</strong>: Children exposed to pesticides are susceptible for neurodevelopmental disruption. Data from developing countries are scarce.</p><p><strong>Aim</strong>: Assessing long-term and recent pesticide exposure in Nicaraguan children in relation to parental pesticide use and examining potential associated neurobehavioral effects.</p><p><strong>Methods</strong>:<strong> </strong>In the first study,<strong> </strong>pre- and post-spraying urinary residues of the chlorpyrifos metabolite TCPY and diazinon metabolite IMPY were measured among 7 subsistence farmers and 10 plantation workers, and in one child per worker. In the second study, for 110 children in an agricultural village and 22 in a non-agricultural village, aged 7-9, parental pesticide use was assessed by hours of spraying and kilograms of active ingredients during pre-and-postnatal time windows, as proxies for children’s long term pesticide exposures. Urinary TCPY, 3-PBA (pyrethroid metabolite), and 2,4-D were determined in 211 samples of 74 children of the agricultural village. IQ components and total IQ (WISC-IV) were evaluated in all agricultural village children. Behavior was evaluated with the Conners’ Teacher Rating Scale-Revised: Short. Multivariate linear regression models assessed associations between long-term and recent exposure to organophosphates and pyrethroids and cognitive and behavioral scales.</p><p><strong>Results</strong>: In study 1, post-spraying urinary levels of pesticide metabolites of subsistence farmers and their children were highly correlated (r=0.85), but not those of plantation workers and their children. In study 2, a wide range of exposures was reported by parents for all pesticides and time windows. The median urinary TCPY (3.7 μg/g creatinine), 3-PBA (2.8), and 2,4-D (0.9) were comparable to other studies for TCPY and 3-PBA but high for 2,4-D. Maximum levels were the highest reported for all compounds. Prenatal use of organophosphates affected working memory, and methamidophos also verbal comprehension and total IQ. Urinary TCPY was associated with poorer working memory. Organophosphate exposures were not associated with children’s behavior. Pyrethroid exposure during the first year of life associated with poorer perceptual reasoning and behavior, and urinary 3-PBA with a number of cognitive functions and ADHD in girls but not in boys.</p><p><strong>Conclusion</strong>: Nicaraguan children in poor agricultural areas are highly exposed to pesticides, which is influenced by parental pesticide use in subsistence farms. Organophosphate and pyrethroid exposures adversely affect their neurobehavioral development.</p>

Subject headings



cognitive function
behavioral outcomes
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Arbets- och miljömedicin

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dok (subject category)
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