Pregnancy Outcomes

Spontaneous abortion, defined as termination of pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation, has been associated with both maternal and paternal pesticide exposures. However, most studies have small numbers of subjects and do not classify or quantify pesticide exposure. A 3-fold increase in spontaneous abortions was found for paternal exposure to DBCP. A preliminary study of Chinese women found a weak association between serum DDE levels and increased incidence of spontaneous abortion. Studies in Ontario have suggested an increase in spontaneous abortions with paternal use of dithiocarbamates and carbaryl. A retrospective cohort study of farming households in the Phillipines found an increased risk of spontaneous abortion with increased pesticide use. A moderate increase in spontaneous abortion was observed in both female workers and the wives of male workers in the floriculture industry in Colombia. Other studies have found no association (26-31).

There are limited studies of the pregnancy outcomes of pre-term labor, small-for-gestational age, or low birth weight babies. The Ontario Farm Family Health Study found a weak association for mixing or applying herbicides and pre-term labor. However, other studies have not found any association between parental pesticide exposure and pre-term labor. A recent study measuring maternal urinary and cord blood organophosphates and cholinesterase levels found a small decrease in gestational age but no association with intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR). A preliminary study found IUGR was associated with elevated levels of atrazine and other herbicides in drinking water in rural Iowa. A small but significant decrease in birth weight was associated with maternal pyrethoid use. Other studies have found no association with agricultural occupations and low birthweight (28-33).

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