Insecticides Exposure May Increase Risk of Developing Endometriosis, Early Study Suggests

Insecticides Exposure May Increase Risk of Developing Endometriosis, Early Study Suggests
0
(0)

Exposure to certain pesticides — insecticides called chlorpyrifos and diazinon — might increase the risk of developing endometriosis, a very preliminary study suggests.

The study, titled “Association of urinary metabolites of organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides, and phenoxy herbicides with endometriosis,” was published in Environment International.

The specific causes of endometriosis are still not fully known. Likely, the cause is multifactorial, involving a combination of genetics, environmental exposures, and hormonal imbalances.

Exposure to insecticides — specifically, chemicals used to kill insects — has been linked with increased risks of certain reproductive abnormalities, such as abnormal semen. It has been proposed that such exposures also could increase endometriosis risk, though there isn’t yet enough data to say for sure.

To learn more, researchers analyzed the urine of 594 women, ages 18-44, who underwent surgery (laparoscopy/laparotomy) or pelvic MRI, both of which can help to diagnose endometriosis. Of these women, 202 were diagnosed with endometriosis.

By analyzing the urine, researchers could identify metabolites of insecticides — the compounds generated by the body processing those chemical treatments. In total, 11 metabolites were analyzed; overall exposure rates ranged from 0.80% to 100%, depending on the individual compound.

The researchers noted that levels of several of these metabolites tended to be higher among people who were younger, non-Hispanic black, and less affluent, suggesting individuals with these demographic features may be at a higher risk of pesticide exposure.

Statistical models were then constructed to compare the relative risk of endometriosis based on pesticide exposure.

The results showed that those more exposed to a metabolite called IMPY had a significantly increased endometriosis risk — by about 89%. However, this was only statistically significant when the analysis was limited to people who had been diagnosed surgically, which is generally considered more reliable. When looking at the whole group, the trend was still there, but it was no longer significant — that is, it was impossible to rule out the possibility that the difference was just due to random chance.

Another metabolite, TCPY, was significantly associated with an increased endometriosis risk — by about 65% — among the whole group. But this significant association was not found for the highest exposure group; it was found for the second group. This is still relative to the lowest group — that is, the elevated risk was found in those who had comparatively higher levels of TCPY — but the lack of significance at the higher exposure levels make it difficult to draw definitive conclusions about this result.

“Our preliminary evidence suggests that exposure to diazinon (the parent compound of IMPY) as well as chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl (parent compounds of TCPY) may be associated with increased odds of an incident endometriosis diagnosis,” the researchers said.

However, the investigators noted that this study was limited by its small sample size and by the fact that only one urine measurement was taken. Overall, the study identified an interesting pattern that awaits further validation by future researchers, they said.

“Our findings should be considered as exploratory and warrants further corroboration,” the researchers said. “These observations emphasize the need for further studies that examine endometriosis following exposure to chlorpyrifos and diazinon.”

Marisa holds an MS in Cellular and Molecular Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied novel genetic drivers of ovarian cancer. She specializes in cancer biology, immunology, and genetics. Marisa began working with BioNews in 2018, and has written about science and health for SelfHacked and the Genetics Society of America. She also writes/composes musicals and coaches the University of Pittsburgh fencing club.
Total Posts: 147
Margarida graduated with a BS in Health Sciences from the University of Lisbon and a MSc in Biotechnology from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST-UL). She worked as a molecular biologist research associate at a Cambridge UK-based biotech company that discovers and develops therapeutic, fully human monoclonal antibodies.
×
Marisa holds an MS in Cellular and Molecular Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied novel genetic drivers of ovarian cancer. She specializes in cancer biology, immunology, and genetics. Marisa began working with BioNews in 2018, and has written about science and health for SelfHacked and the Genetics Society of America. She also writes/composes musicals and coaches the University of Pittsburgh fencing club.
Latest Posts
  • miRNAs and diagnosis
  • cancer and uterine conditions
  • blocking bone marrow cell movement
  • endometriosis risk

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?