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Environment international

Pyrethroid insecticide exposure and cognitive developmental disabilities in children: The PELAGIE mother-child cohort.


PMID 26057254

Abstract

Pyrethroid insecticides are widely used in agriculture and in homes. Despite the neurotoxicity of these insecticides at high doses, few studies have examined whether lower-level exposures could adversely affect children's neurodevelopment. The PELAGIE cohort included 3421 pregnant women from Brittany, France between 2002 and 2006. When their children reached their sixth birthday, 428 mothers from the cohort were randomly selected, successfully contacted and found eligible. A total of 287 (67%) mothers agreed to participate with their children in the neuropsychological follow-up. Two cognitive domains were assessed by the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children: verbal comprehension and working memory. Five pyrethroid and two organophosphate insecticide metabolites were measured in maternal and child first-void urine samples collected between 6 and 19 gestational weeks and at 6years of age, respectively. Linear regression models were used to estimate associations between cognitive scores and urinary pyrethroid metabolite concentrations, adjusting for organophosphate metabolite concentrations and potential confounders. Maternal prenatal pyrethroid metabolite concentrations were not consistently associated with any children's cognitive scores. By contrast, childhood 3-PBA and cis-DBCA concentrations were both negatively associated with verbal comprehension scores (P-trend=0.04 and P-trend<0.01, respectively) and with working memory scores (P-trend=0.05 and P-trend<0.01, respectively). No associations were observed for the three other childhood pyrethroid metabolite concentrations (4-F-3-PBA, cis-DCCA, and trans-DCCA). Low-level childhood exposures to deltamethrin (as cis-DBCA is its principal and selective metabolite), in particular, and to pyrethroid insecticides, in general (as reflected in levels of the 3-PBA metabolite) may negatively affect neurocognitive development by 6years of age. Whatever their etiology, these cognitive deficits may be of importance educationally, because cognitive impairments in children interfere with learning and social development. Potential causes that can be prevented are of paramount public health importance.