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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(4), 354; doi:10.3390/ijerph14040354

Urinary Concentrations of Insecticide and Herbicide Metabolites among Pregnant Women in Rural Ghana: A Pilot Study

Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Vincent Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 55 Fruit Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA
Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Kintampo Health Research Centre, Ghana Health Service, P.O. Box 200, Brong Ahafo Region, Kintampo 00233, Ghana
Department of Statistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Hwy, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 722 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 27 December 2016 / Revised: 2 March 2017 / Accepted: 21 March 2017 / Published: 29 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [681 KB, uploaded 29 March 2017]   |  


Use of pesticides by households in rural Ghana is common for residential pest control, agricultural use, and for the reduction of vectors carrying disease. However, few data are available about exposure to pesticides among this population. Our objective was to quantify urinary concentrations of metabolites of organophosphate (OP), pyrethroid, and select herbicides during pregnancy, and to explore exposure determinants. In 2014, 17 pregnant women from rural Ghana were surveyed about household pesticide use and provided weekly first morning urine voids during three visits (n = 51 samples). A total of 90.1% (46/51) of samples had detectable OP metabolites [geometric mean, GM (95% CI): 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol 0.54 µg/L (0.36–0.81), para-nitrophenol 0.71 µg/L (0.51–1.00)], 75.5% (37/49) had detectable pyrethroid metabolites [GM: 3-phenoxybenzoic acid 0.23 µg/L (0.17, 0.32)], and 70.5% (36/51) had detectable 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid levels, a herbicide [GM: 0.46 µg/L (0.29–0.73)]. Concentrations of para-nitrophenol and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid in Ghanaian pregnant women appear higher when compared to nonpregnant reproductive-aged women in a reference U.S. population. Larger studies are necessary to more fully explore predictors of exposure in this population. View Full-Text
Keywords: insecticides; herbicides; pregnancy; organophosphates; pyrethroids insecticides; herbicides; pregnancy; organophosphates; pyrethroids

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Wylie, B.J.; Ae-Ngibise, K.A.; Boamah, E.A.; Mujtaba, M.; Messerlian, C.; Hauser, R.; Coull, B.; Calafat, A.M.; Jack, D.; Kinney, P.L.; Whyatt, R.; Owusu-Agyei, S.; Asante, K.P. Urinary Concentrations of Insecticide and Herbicide Metabolites among Pregnant Women in Rural Ghana: A Pilot Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 354.

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