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Environ Sci Process Impacts. 2015 Sep;17(9):1661-71. doi: 10.1039/c5em00247h. Epub 2015 Aug 4.

Evaluation of exposure to organophosphate, carbamate, phenoxy acid, and chlorophenol pesticides in pregnant women from 10 Caribbean countries.

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Department of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, St George's University, St George's, Grenada.


Pesticides are commonly used in tropical regions such as the Caribbean for both household and agricultural purposes. Of particular concern is exposure during pregnancy, as these compounds can cross the placental barrier and interfere with fetal development. The objective of this study was to evaluate exposure of pregnant women residing in 10 Caribbean countries to the following commonly used classes of pesticides in the Caribbean: organophosphates (OPs), carbamates, phenoxy acids, and chlorophenols. Out of 438 urine samples collected, 15 samples were randomly selected from each Caribbean country giving a total of 150 samples. Samples were analyzed for the following metabolites: six OP dialkylphosphate metabolites [dimethylphosphate (DMP), dimethylthiophosphate (DMTP), dimethyldithiophosphate (DMDTP), diethylphosphate (DEP), diethylthiophosphate (DETP) and diethyldithiophosphate (DEDTP)]; two carbamate metabolites [2-isopropoxyphenol (2-IPP) and carbofuranphenol]; one phenoxy acid 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D); and five chlorophenols [2,4-dichlorophenol (DCP), 2,5-dichlorophenol (2,5-DCP), 2,4,5-trichlorophenol (TCP), 2,4,6-trichlorophenol (2,4,6-TCP), and pentachlorophenol (PCP)]. OP metabolites were consistently detected in ≥60% of the samples from Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, and Jamaica. Of the carbamate metabolites, 2-IPP was detected in seven of the 10 Caribbean countries with a detection frequency around 30%, whereas carbofuranphenol was detected in only one sample. The detection frequency for the phenoxy acid 2,4-D ranged from 20% in Grenada to a maximum of 67% in Belize. Evidence of exposure to chlorophenol pesticides was also established with 2,4-DCP by geometric means ranging from 0.52 μg L(-1) in St Lucia to a maximum of 1.68 μg L(-1) in Bermuda. Several extreme concentrations of 2,5-DCP were detected in four Caribbean countries-Belize (1100 μg L(-1)), Bermuda (870 μg L(-1)), Jamaica (1300 μg L(-1)), and St Kitts and Nevis (1400 μg L(-1)). 2,4,5-TCP, 2,4,6-TCP, and pentachlorophenol were rarely detected. This biomonitoring study underscores the need for Caribbean public health authorities to encourage their populations, and in particular pregnant women, to become more aware of the potential routes of exposure to pesticides and to utilize these chemicals more cautiously given the possible adverse effects such exposures can have on their unborn children and infants.

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