Effects of pesticide exposure in children on respiratory health: prenatal exposure

First author [ref.]LocationStudy designSummary of methodResults
Population characteristicsPesticides of interestExposure assessmentHealth outcomes
Sunyer [30]Menorca, SpainProspective cohort468 mother–infant pairs, with complete outcome data at 4 yearsOrganochlorine insecticides DDT and its metabolite DDE and fungicide HCBCord serum: DDE (median 1.03 ng·mL−1); HCB (median 0.68 ng·mL−1)Face-to-face maternal questionnaire: report of persistent wheezing and/or doctor-diagnosed asthma at 4 years of ageWheezing at 4 years of age increased when DDE concentration >1.90 ng·mL−1 (RR 2.63, 95% CI 1.19–4.69) and persistent wheezing (RR 1.26, 95% CI 1.04–1.54)
Sunyer [31]Menorca, SpainProspective cohort462 mother–infant pairs, with complete outcome data at 6.5 yearsOrganochlorines DDE/DDTCord serum: DDE (median 1.03 ng·mL−1); DDT (median 0.08 ng·mL−1) Children's blood (at 4 years): DDE (median 0.08 ng·mL−1); DDT (median 0.05 ng·mL−1)Face-to-face maternal questionnaire: report of persistent wheezing and/or doctor-diagnosed asthma at 6.5 years of ageDDE concentration at birth associated with diagnosis of asthma at age 6.5 years (OR 1.18, 95% CI 1.01–1.39) and wheeze at age 4 years (OR 1.14, 95% CI 1.02–1.28)
Sunyer [32]SpainBirth cohort of Infancia y Medico Ambiente (INMA)520 mother–infant pairs, age: 14 monthsDDE, HCHMaternal serum (first trimester of pregnancy): pp′DDE (mean 112.3 ng·g−1); HCB (mean 43.7 ng·g−1)Face-to-face maternal questionnaire to report doctor-diagnosed LRTIs including bronchitis, bronchiolitis or pneumoniaSignificant association of DDE concentration during the first trimester of pregnancy with recurrent LRTI at 6 months (RR 1.68, 95% CI 0.06–2.66), and 14 months (RR 1.52, 95% CI 1.05–2.21)
Gascon [33]SpainBirth cohort of INMA1455 mother–infant pairs, age: 14 monthsDDE, HCHMaternal serum (7–26th week of pregnancy): DDE (mean 116.3 ng·g−1); HCB (mean 46.4 ng·g−1)Face-to-face maternal questionnaire to report doctor-diagnosed of LRTIs based on ISAAC questionnaireDDE concentrations (third quartile) associated with LRTI risk (RR 1.33, 95% CI 1.08–1.62) and wheeze (RR 1.30, 95% CI 1.06–1.59)
Weselak [34]CanadaRetrospective cohort of Ontario Farm Family Health Study(OFFHS)3405 children of farm familiesAgricultural herbicides, insecticides and fungicidesQuestionnaire on pesticide exposure in farm activities of the father and mother during pregnancy, the year and month of pesticide use being matched with year and month of each pregnancy No pesticides measuredParental self-report of doctor-diagnosed health problems: chronic bronchitis or cough, asthma in their childNo significant association between any reported parental pesticide use during pregnancy and the development of persistent cough, bronchitis and asthma among the offspring of farm families
Glynn [35]Uppsala, SwedenProspective cohort190 primiparous women living and seeking prenatal care in Uppsala, age: 3 monthsDDEMaternal serum (32–34th week of pregnancy): pp′DDE (mean 88 ng·g−1) Mother's breast milk: pp′DDE (mean 311 ng·g−1)Face-to-face questionnaire report of respiratory symptoms in infant, or doctor diagnosis of respiratory infectionNo association between prenatal serum levels DDE and respiratory infections in the infants
Liu [36]USABirth cohort of the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH)224 children, age: 5–6 years, 50.0% malePesticides: permethrins and PBO (a synergist for residential pyrethroid insecticides)Residential air samples in the third trimester of pregnancy: PBO (mean 1.1 ng·m−3); Cis-permethrin (not calculated); Trans-permethrin (mean 0.8 ng·m−3) Residential air samples at 5–6 years: PBO (LODs 0.06 ng·m−3); Cis-permethrin (LOD 0.1 ng·m−3) Trans-permethrin (LOD 0.2 ng·m−3)Face-to-face questionnaire report of doctor-diagnosed of asthma based on ISAAC questionnaireSignificant association between prenatal exposure to PBO and non-infectious cough in children aged 5–6 years (OR 1.27, 95% CI 1.09–1.48)
  • DDT: dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethane; DDE: dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene; HCB: hexachlorobenzene; RR: relative risk; HCH: hexachlorocyclohexane; pp′DDE: pp'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene; LRTI: lower respiratory tract infection; ISAAC: International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood; PBO: piperonyl butoxide; LOD: limit of detection.