Send to

Choose Destination
Hum Reprod. 2004 Nov;19(11):2573-80. Epub 2004 Aug 27.

Urinary levels of insecticide metabolites and DNA damage in human sperm.

Author information

Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



Members of the general population are exposed to non-persistent insecticides at low levels. The present study explored whether environmental exposures to carbaryl and chlorpyrifos are associated with DNA damage in human sperm.


Subjects (n=260) were recruited through a Massachusetts infertility clinic. Individual exposures were measured as spot urinary metabolite concentrations of chlorpyrifos [3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCPY)] and carbaryl [1-naphthol (1N)], adjusted using specific gravity. Sperm DNA integrity was assessed by neutral comet assay and reported as comet extent, percentage DNA in comet tail (Tail%) and tail distributed moment (TDM).


A statistically significant increase in Tail% was found for an interquartile range (IQR) increase in both 1N [coefficient=4.1; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.9-6.3] and TCPY (2.8; 0.9-4.6), while a decrease in TDM was associated with IQR changes in 1N (-2.2; -4.9 to 0.5) and TCPY (-2.5; -4.7 to -0.2). A negative correlation between Tail% and TDM was present only when stratified by comet extent, suggesting that Tail% and TDM may measure different types of DNA damage within comet extent strata.


Environmental exposure to carbaryl and chlorpyrifos may be associated with increased DNA damage in human sperm, as indicated by a change in comet assay parameters.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center