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Environ Res. 2018 Nov 10;169:189-195. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.11.002. [Epub ahead of print]

Pesticides Exposure by Air in Vineyard Rural Area and Respiratory Health in Children: A pilot study.

Author information

1
Univ. Bordeaux, Inserm, Bordeaux Population Health Research Center, team EPICENE, UMR 1219, F-33000 Bordeaux, France; Service des Maladies Respiratoires, CHU Bordeaux, France. Electronic address: Chantal.raherison-semjen@u-bordeaux.fr.
2
Univ. Bordeaux, Inserm, Bordeaux Population Health Research Center, team EPICENE, UMR 1219, F-33000 Bordeaux, France.
3
Service de Pharmacologie et de Toxicologie, CHU Dupuytren, Limoges, France.
4
Univ. Bordeaux, Inserm, Bordeaux Population Health Research Center, team EPICENE, UMR 1219, F-33000 Bordeaux, France; Laboratoire de Pharmacologie Clinique et de Toxicologie, CHU Bordeaux, France.

Abstract

RATIONALE:

Asthma, frequently associated with rhinitis, is the most common chronic disease in children, and a significant role is played by a range of environmental exposures. Among them, air pollution is of foremost concern. However, little is known about the impact of airborne pesticide exposure on children's respiratory health in rural areas. The objective of this study was to analyze the association between airborne pesticide exposure and asthma and rhinitis in children.

METHODS:

In a French vineyard rural area, children (3-10 years old) from 4 selected schools were invited to participate in this study over two periods: winter, with no or low air pesticide levels, and summer when fields are frequently treated with pesticides. Two health outcomes were considered: asthma and rhinitis symptoms (ISAAC questionnaire), and peak expiratory flow (PEF). A quantitative score of symptoms was built. Exposure to pesticides was evaluated 1) by measuring 56 pesticides in the ambient outdoor air around schools in the two periods and building a cumulative exposure index, and 2) by measuring ethylenethiourea (ETU) concentrations in urine in a subsample of children (n = 96), ETU being a urine biomarker of exposure to dithiocarbamates fungicides. Next, the association between pesticide exposure and respiratory health was studied using a logistic regression model, adjusted for confounders and respiratory status at baseline.

RESULTS:

281 children participated in the study (47% girls, mean age: 7.5 yrs). 25% of the children were living on a farm. 22% had experienced wheezing at least once. 15.8% had asthma diagnosed by a doctor, 12% had current asthma and 35% had allergic rhinitis. The main pesticides detected in the ambient outdoor air around schools were fungicides (89,3%; mainly folpet and dithiocarbamates) and insecticides (10.6%). No association was found between the symptom score and pesticides in the outdoor air around schools during summer, when pesticides were applied to vineyards. However, an association was found between ETU urinary concentration (>0.974 μg/g creatinine) and asthma and rhinitis symptoms (OR=3.56; IC 95% 1.04-12.12). This result could be explained by extracurricular exposure, which was not considered in our air measurements in the schools. No association was found between peak expiratory flow and exposure to pesticides in the air.

CONCLUSIONS:

Children living in vineyard rural areas are at a higher risk of airborne dithiocarbamates exposure during the summer period. Despite the limited size of our sample, our results suggest possible links between some pesticide measurements and respiratory and allergic symptoms such as rhinitis.

KEYWORDS:

Asthma; Children; Ethylene-thiourea; Pesticide exposure; Rhinitis; Urine biomarkers

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