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Environ Health Perspect. 2016 May;124(5):674-80. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1409472. Epub 2015 Sep 22.

Organophosphate Insecticide Metabolites in Prenatal and Childhood Urine Samples and Intelligence Scores at 6 Years of Age: Results from the Mother-Child PELAGIE Cohort (France).

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INSERM U1085-IRSET, Université Rennes I, Rennes, France.



Several studies suggest that exposure to organophosphate insecticides (OP) during pregnancy impairs neurodevelopment in children.


We evaluated associations between biomarkers of prenatal and postnatal OP exposure and cognitive function of 6-year-olds in a French longitudinal birth cohort.


In 2002-2006, the PELAGIE mother-child cohort enrolled pregnant women from Brittany. For a random subcohort, we measured nonspecific dialkylphosphate metabolites (DAP) of OP in one maternal urine sample, collected before 19 weeks' gestation, and in one urine sample collected from their 6-year-old children. Six subtests of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, 4th edition (WISC-IV) were administered when the children were 6 years of age to evaluate cognitive function (n = 231). Linear regression models controlling for factors including maternal intelligence and the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment score were used.


WISC-IV scores were not significantly associated with prenatal or childhood total DAP metabolites. WISC verbal comprehension score was significantly higher in association with the highest maternal urinary concentrations of diethylphosphate (DE) metabolites (5.5; 95% CI: 0.8, 10.3 for > 13.2 nmol/L vs. < LOQ), whereas WISC working memory score was significantly lower in association with the highest urinary concentrations of DE metabolites at age 6 years (-3.6; 95% CI: -7.8, -0.6 for > 11.1 nmol/L vs. < LOD).


We found no evidence that prenatal OP exposure adversely affected cognitive function in 6-year-olds, perhaps because of the population's socioeconomic status, which was higher than in previous studies, though other causal and noncausal explanations are also possible. The negative association between WISC score and concurrent DE urinary concentrations requires replication by longitudinal studies investigating childhood OP exposure.


Cartier C, Warembourg C, Le Maner-Idrissi G, Lacroix A, Rouget F, Monfort C, Limon G, Durand G, Saint-Amour D, Cordier S, Chevrier C. 2016. Organophosphate insecticide metabolites in prenatal and childhood urine samples and intelligence scores at 6 years of age: results from the mother-child PELAGIE cohort (France). Environ Health Perspect 124:674-680;

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