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Environ Health Perspect. 2012 Jul;120(7):1055-60. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1104615. Epub 2012 Apr 5.

Associations of prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticide metabolites with gestational age and birth weight.

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Child & Family Research Institute, BC Children's Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



Prenatal exposure to organophosphate (OP) insecticides, a widely used class of pesticides, may be associated with decreased gestational age and lower birth weight. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in paroxanase (PON1) enzyme genotypes may modify the relationships between OP exposure and perinatal outcomes.


We examined the relationship of prenatal OP insecticide exposure, measured using urinary dialkyl phosphate (DAP) metabolite concentrations, with gestational age and birth weight.


We measured the concentrations of six nonspecific DAP metabolites of OP insecticides in two maternal spot urine samples collected in a prospective birth cohort. We performed multivariable regression to examine associations between the sum of six DAP concentrations (ΣDAP) with gestational age and birth weight. We also examined whether these associations differed according to infant PON1(192) and PON1(-108) genotypes.


Among 306 mother-infant dyads, a 10-fold increase in ΣDAP concentrations was associated with a decrease in covariate-adjusted gestational age [-0.5 weeks; 95% confidence interval (CI): -0.8, -0.1] and birth weight (-151 g; CI: -287, -16); the decrements in birth weight were attenuated after adjusting for gestational age. The relationship between ΣDAP concentrations and gestational age was stronger for white (-0.7 weeks; CI: -1.1, -0.3) than for black (-0.1 weeks; 95% CI: -0.9, 0.6) newborns. In contrast, there was a greater decrease in birth weight with increasing urinary ΣDAP concentrations for black (-188 g; CI: -395, 19) than for white (-118 g; CI: -296, 60) newborns. Decrements in birth weight and gestational age associated with ΣDAP concentrations were greatest among infants with PON1(192QR) and PON(-108CT) genotypes.


Prenatal urinary ΣDAP concentrations were associated with shortened gestation and reduced birth weight in this cohort, but the effects differed by race/ethnicity and PON1(192/108) genotypes.

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