Picture: A pregnant woman 
Even in the womb embryos
are exposed to pesticides

In her doctoral thesis, María José López Espinosa, from the Department of Radiology and Physical Medicine of the University of Granada (UGR), studied the presence of 17 endocrine disruptive organochlorine pesticides through the analysis of the placentas.

The results showed that the most frequent pesticides present in the placenta tissue are DDE (92.7%), lindane (74.8%), endosulfan diol (62.1%) and endosulfan-I (54.2%). Among these, the most prevalent was endosulfan-diol, with an average concentration of 4.15 nanograms per gram of placenta. Surprisingly, the UGR researcher discovered that some patients’ placentas contained 15 of the 17 pesticides analysed. A total of 668 samples from pregnant women were used.

The study made at the UGR has facilitated research into the association of the characteristics of parents, newborn babies and childbirth with exposure to pesticides found in the mothers’ placenta. Among the aspects associated with a higher presence of pesticides we find an older age, higher body mass index, less weight gained during pregnancy, lower educational level, higher workplace exposure, first-time motherhood and lower weight in babies.

According to López, “we do not really know the consequences of exposure to disruptive pesticides in children, but we can predict that they may have serious effects, since this placenta exposure occurs at key moments of the embryo’s development”. The research group has conducted several studies which associate exposure to pesticides with neonatal malformations if the genito-urinary system, such as undropped testicles and total fusion of the urethral folds.

The UGR researcher underlines that “it is possible to control pesticide ingestion by means of a proper diet, which should be healthy and balanced, through consumption of food whose chemical content is low. Moreover, daily exercise and the avoidance of tobacco are very important habits which help to control the presence of pesticides in our organisms.”

MEDICA.de; Source: University of Granada