Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Health Perspect. 2016 Jul;124(7):1084-92. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1409362. Epub 2015 Dec 18.

Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphorous Pesticides and Fetal Growth: Pooled Results from Four Longitudinal Birth Cohort Studies.

Author information

Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health (CERCH), School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA.



Organophosphorous (OP) pesticides are associated with reduced fetal growth in animals, but human studies are inconsistent.


We pooled data from four cohorts to examine associations of prenatal OP exposure with birth weight (n = 1,169), length (n = 1,152), and head circumference (n = 1,143).


Data were from the CHAMACOS, HOME, Columbia, and Mount Sinai birth cohorts. Concentrations of three diethyl phosphate (ΣDEP) and three dimethyl phosphate (ΣDMP) metabolites of OP pesticides [summed to six dialkyl phosphates (ΣDAPs)] were measured in maternal urine. Linear regression and mixed-effects models were used to examine associations with birth outcomes.


We found no significant associations of ΣDEP, ΣDMP, or ΣDAPs with birth weight, length, or head circumference overall. However, among non-Hispanic black women, increasing urinary ΣDAP and ΣDMP concentrations were associated with decreased birth length (β = -0.4 cm; 95% CI: -0.9, 0.0 and β = -0.4 cm; 95% CI: -0.8, 0.0, respectively, for each 10-fold increase in metabolite concentration). Among infants with the PON1192RR genotype, ΣDAP and ΣDMP were negatively associated with length (β = -0.4 cm; 95% CI: -0.9, 0.0 and β = -0.5 cm; 95% CI: -0.9, -0.1).


This study confirms previously reported associations of prenatal OP exposure among black women with decreased infant size at birth, but finds no evidence of smaller birth weight, length, or head circumference among whites or Hispanics. Contrary to our hypothesis, we found stronger inverse associations of DAPs and birth outcome in infants with the less susceptible PON1192RR genotype. The large pooled data set facilitated exploration of interactions by race/ethnicity and PON1 genotype, but was limited by differences in study populations.


Harley KG, Engel SM, Vedar MG, Eskenazi B, Whyatt RM, Lanphear BP, Bradman A, Rauh VA, Yolton K, Hornung RW, Wetmur JG, Chen J, Holland NT, Barr DB, Perera FP, Wolff MS. 2016. Prenatal exposure to organophosphorous pesticides and fetal growth: pooled results from four longitudinal birth cohort studies. Environ Health Perspect 124:1084-1092;

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center