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      Semen quality in Peruvian pesticide applicators: association between urinary organophosphate metabolites and semen parameters

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          Abstract

          Background

          Organophosphates are broad class of chemicals widely used as pesticides throughout the world. We performed a cross-sectional study of associations between dialkylphosphate metabolites of organophosphates and semen quality among pesticide applicators in Majes (Arequipa), Peru.

          Methods

          Thirty-one men exposed to organophosphate (OP) pesticides and 31 non-exposed were recruited (age, 20–60 years). In exposed subjects, semen and a blood sample were obtained one day after the last pesticide application. Subjects were grouped according to levels of OP metabolites in urine. Semen samples were analyzed for sperm concentration, percentage of sperm motility, percentage of normal morphology, semen leucocytes and concentrations of fructose and zinc. Exposure to OP was assessed by measuring six urinary OP metabolites (dimethyl and diethyl phosphates and thiophosphates) by gas chromatography using a single flame photometric detector.

          Results

          Diethyldithiophosphate (p = 0.04) and diethylthiophosphate (p = 0.02) better reflected occupational pesticide exposure than other OP metabolites. Semen analysis revealed a significant reduction of semen volume and an increase in semen pH in men with OP metabolites. Multiple regression analysis showed that both occupational exposure to pesticides and the time of exposure to pesticides were more closely related to alterations in semen quality parameters than the single measurement of OP metabolites in urine.

          Conclusion

          The study demonstrated that occupational exposure to OP pesticides was more closely related to alterations in semen quality than a single measurement of urine OP metabolites. Current measurement of OP metabolites in urine may not reflect the full risk.

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          Most cited references 43

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          Organophosphate Pesticide Exposure and Neurodevelopment in Young Mexican-American Children

          Background Organophosphate (OP) pesticides are widely used in agriculture and homes. Animal studies suggest that even moderate doses are neurodevelopmental toxicants, but there are few studies in humans. Objectives We investigated the relationship of prenatal and child OP urinary metabolite levels with children’s neurodevelopment. Methods Participating children were from a longitudinal birth cohort of primarily Latino farm-worker families in California. We measured six nonspecific dialkylphosphate (DAP) metabolites in maternal and child urine as well as metabolites specific to malathion (MDA) and chlorpyrifos (TCPy) in maternal urine. We examined their association with children’s performance at 6 (n = 396), 12 (n = 395), and 24 (n = 372) months of age on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development [Mental Development (MDI) and Psychomotor Development (PDI) Indices] and mother’s report on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) (n = 356). Results Generally, pregnancy DAP levels were negatively associated with MDI, but child measures were positively associated. At 24 months of age, these associations reached statistical significance [per 10-fold increase in prenatal DAPs: β = −3.5 points; 95% confidence interval (CI), −6.6 to −0.5; child DAPs: β = 2.4 points; 95% CI, 0.5 to 4.2]. Neither prenatal nor child DAPs were associated with PDI or CBCL attention problems, but both prenatal and postnatal DAPs were associated with risk of pervasive developmental disorder [per 10-fold increase in prenatal DAPs: odds ratio (OR) = 2.3, p = 0.05; child DAPs OR = 1.7, p = 0.04]. MDA and TCPy were not associated with any outcome. Conclusions We report adverse associations of prenatal DAPs with mental development and pervasive developmental problems at 24 months of age. Results should be interpreted with caution given the observed positive relationship with postnatal DAPs.
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            Organophosphorus pesticide exposure of urban and suburban preschool children with organic and conventional diets.

            We assessed organophosphorus (OP) pesticide exposure from diet by biological monitoring among Seattle, Washington, preschool children. Parents kept food diaries for 3 days before urine collection, and they distinguished organic and conventional foods based on label information. Children were then classified as having consumed either organic or conventional diets based on analysis of the diary data. Residential pesticide use was also recorded for each home. We collected 24-hr urine samples from 18 children with organic diets and 21 children with conventional diets and analyzed them for five OP pesticide metabolites. We found significantly higher median concentrations of total dimethyl alkylphosphate metabolites than total diethyl alkylphosphate metabolites (0.06 and 0.02 micro mol/L, respectively; p = 0.0001). The median total dimethyl metabolite concentration was approximately six times higher for children with conventional diets than for children with organic diets (0.17 and 0.03 micro mol/L; p = 0.0003); mean concentrations differed by a factor of nine (0.34 and 0.04 micro mol/L). We calculated dose estimates from urinary dimethyl metabolites and from agricultural pesticide use data, assuming that all exposure came from a single pesticide. The dose estimates suggest that consumption of organic fruits, vegetables, and juice can reduce children's exposure levels from above to below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's current guidelines, thereby shifting exposures from a range of uncertain risk to a range of negligible risk. Consumption of organic produce appears to provide a relatively simple way for parents to reduce their children's exposure to OP pesticides.
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              Semen quality in relation to biomarkers of pesticide exposure.

              We previously reported reduced sperm concentration and motility in fertile men in a U.S. agrarian area (Columbia, MO) relative to men from U.S. urban centers (Minneapolis, MN; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY). In the present study we address the hypothesis that pesticides currently used in agriculture in the Midwest contributed to these differences in semen quality. We selected men in whom all semen parameters (concentration, percentage sperm with normal morphology, and percentage motile sperm) were low (cases) and men in whom all semen parameters were within normal limits (controls) within Missouri and Minnesota (sample sizes of 50 and 36, respectively) and measured metabolites of eight current-use pesticides in urine samples provided at the time of semen collection. All pesticide analyses were conducted blind with respect to center and case-control status. Pesticide metabolite levels were elevated in Missouri cases, compared with controls, for the herbicides alachlor and atrazine and for the insecticide diazinon [2-isopropoxy-4-methyl-pyrimidinol (IMPY)]; for Wilcoxon rank test, p = 0.0007, 0.012, and 0.0004 for alachlor, atrazine, and IMPY, respectively. Men from Missouri with high levels of alachlor or IMPY were significantly more likely to be cases than were men with low levels [odds ratios (ORs) = 30.0 and 16.7 for alachlor and IMPY, respectively], as were men with atrazine levels higher than the limit of detection (OR = 11.3). The herbicides 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) and metolachlor were also associated with poor semen quality in some analyses, whereas acetochlor levels were lower in cases than in controls (p = 0.04). No significant associations were seen for any pesticides within Minnesota, where levels of agricultural pesticides were low, or for the insect repellent DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) or the malathion metabolite malathion dicarboxylic acid. These associations between current-use pesticides and reduced semen quality suggest that agricultural chemicals may have contributed to the reduction in semen quality in fertile men from mid-Missouri we reported previously.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Environ Health
                Environmental Health
                BioMed Central
                1476-069X
                2008
                17 November 2008
                : 7
                : 59
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Biological and Physiological Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
                [2 ]Instituto de Investigaciones de la Altura, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, P.O. Box 1843, Lima, Peru
                Article
                1476-069X-7-59
                10.1186/1476-069X-7-59
                2588569
                19014632
                Copyright © 2008 Yucra et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Research

                Public health

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