Association of prenatal pesticide exposures with adverse pregnancy outcomes and stunting in rural Bangladesh

Lindsay M Jaacks, Nancy Diao, Antonia M Calafat, Maria Ospina, Maitreyi Mazumdar, Md Omar Sharif Ibne Hasan, Robert Wright, Quazi Quamruzzaman, David C Christiani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: Pesticide exposure during pregnancy is thought to adversely affect fetal growth, which in turn may impact child growth, but results have been inconsistent across studies and few have explored these effects in developing countries.

OBJECTIVES: To quantify urinary concentrations of pesticide biomarkers in early pregnancy (<16 weeks' gestation), and to estimate the association of these concentrations with preterm birth, low birth weight, small for gestational age, and stunting at ~1 and 2 years of age.

METHODS: Eight pesticide biomarkers were quantified in urine collected from 289 pregnant women (aged 18-40 years) participating in a birth cohort study in Bangladesh. Anthropometry measurements were conducted on the index child at birth and approximately 1 and 2 years of age. A directed acyclic graph was used to identify minimal sufficient adjustment sets. Log-binomial regression was used to estimate the relative risk (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI).

RESULTS: 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCPY), a metabolite of chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos methyl, and 4-nitrophenol, a metabolite of parathion and methyl parathion, were detected in nearly all women with geometric mean (95% CI) values of 3.17 (2.82-3.56) and 18.66 (17.03-20.46) µg/g creatinine, respectively. 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3-PBA), a non-specific metabolite of several pyrethroids, and 2-isopropyl-4-methyl-6-hydroxypyrimidine (IMPY), a diazinon metabolite, were detected in 19.8% and 16.1% of women, respectively. The remaining four pesticide biomarkers were detected in <10% of women. Women in the highest quartile of 4-nitrophenol were more than 3 times more likely to deliver preterm than women in the lowest quartile: unadjusted RR (95% CI), 3.57 (1.65, 7.73). Women in the highest quartile of 4-nitrophenol were also at increased risk of having a child born small for gestational age: RR (95% CI) adjusted for household income, maternal education, and maternal total energy and meat intake, 3.81 (1.10, 13.21). Women with detectable concentrations of IMPY were at increased risk of having a child born with low birth weight compared to women with non-detectable concentrations: adjusted RR (95% CI), 2.13 (1.12, 4.08). We observed no association between any of the pesticide biomarkers and stunting at 1 or 2 years of age.

DISCUSSION: Exposure to the insecticides parathion and diazinon during early pregnancy may increase the risk of adverse birth outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105243
JournalEnvironment International
Issue numberPt B
Early online date29 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Adult
  • Bangladesh
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Growth Disorders/epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Exposure/statistics & numerical data
  • Pesticides/adverse effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome/epidemiology
  • Premature Birth/epidemiology
  • Rural Population/statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult


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