Exposure to non-persistent pesticides and sexual maturation of Spanish adolescent males


Background: Several non-persistent pesticides are endocrine disrupting chemicals and may impact on sexual maturation.

Objective: To examine the association between urinary biomarkers of non-persistent pesticides and sexual maturation in adolescent males in the Environment and Childhood (INMA) Project.

Methods: The metabolites of several pesticides were measured in spot urine samples collected from 201 boys aged 14-17 years, including: 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCPy), metabolite of chlorpyrifos; 2-isopropyl-4-methyl-6-hydroxypyrimidine (IMPy), metabolite of diazinon; malathion diacid (MDA), metabolite of malathion; diethyl thiophosphate (DETP) and diethyl dithiophosphate, non-specific metabolites of organophosphates; 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3-PBA) and dimethyl cyclopropane carboxylic acid, metabolites of pyrethroids; 1-naphthol (1-NPL), metabolite of carbaryl; and ethylene thiourea (ETU), metabolite of dithiocarbamate fungicides. Sexual maturation was assessed using Tanner stages, self-reported Pubertal Development Scale, and testicular volume (TV). Multivariate logistic regression was employed to examine associations between urinary pesticide metabolites and the odds of being in Tanner stage 5 of genital development (G5) or pubic hair growth (PH5); stage ≥4 of overall pubertal development, gonadarche, and adrenarche; or having mature TV (≥25 mL).

Results: DETP concentrations>75th percentile (P75) were associated with lower odds of being in stage G5 (OR = 0.27; 95% CI = 0.10-0.70), detectable TCPy with lower odds of gonadal stage≥4 (OR = 0.50; 95% CI = 0.26-0.96), and intermediate detectable MDA concentrations (

Conclusion: Exposure to certain pesticides may be associated with delayed sexual maturity in adolescent males.

Authors: Francesca Castiello, Beatriz Suárez, José Gómez-Vida, Maties Torrent, Mariana F Fernández, Nicolás Olea, Carmen Freire
; Full Source: Chemosphere 2023 Mar 10;138350. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2023.138350.