Systematic review of biomonitoring studies to determine the association between exposure to organophosphorus and pyrethroid insecticides and human health outcomes

For the appropriate protection of human health it is necessary to accurately estimate the health effects of human exposure to toxic compounds. In the present review, epidemiological studies on the health effects of human exposure to organophosphorus (OP) and pyrethroid (PYR) insecticides were critically assessed. This review is focused on studies where the exposure assessment was based on quantification of specific biomarkers in urine or plasma. The 49 studies reviewed used different epidemiological approaches and analytical methods as well as different exposure assessment methodologies. With regard to OP pesticides, the studies reviewed suggested negative effects of prenatal exposure to these pesticides on neurodevelopment and male reproduction. Neurological effects on adults, DNA damage and adverse birth outcomes were also associated with exposure to OP pesticides. With regard to exposure to PYR pesticides, there are currently few studies investigating the adverse health outcomes due to these pesticides. The effects studied in relation to PYR exposure were mainly male reproductive effects (sperm quality, sperm DNA damage and reproductive hormone disorders). Studies’ findings provided evidence to support the hypothesis that PYR exposure is adversely associated with effects on the male reproductive system. The authors concluded that the validity of these epidemiological studies is strongly enhanced by exposure assessment based on biomarker quantification. However, for valid and reliable results and conclusions, attention should also be focused on the validity of the analytical methods used, study designs and the measured toxicants characteristics.

Authors: Koureas, Michalis; Tsakalof, Andreas; Tsatsakis, Aristidis; Hadjichristodoulou, Christos ;Toxicology Letters [online computer file] 2012, 210(2), 155-168 (Eng) ;