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DDT Exposure, Work in Agriculture, and Time to Pregnancy Among Farmworkers in California

Harley, Kim G. PhD; Marks, Amy R. MPH; Bradman, Asa PhD; Barr, Dana B. PhD; Eskenazi, Brenda PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: December 2008 - Volume 50 - Issue 12 - p 1335-1342
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31818f684d
Original Articles

Objective: This study examined whether exposure to pesticides, including dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), was associated with longer time to pregnancy (TTP).

Methods: Pregnant women (N = 402) living in a migrant farmworker community were asked how many months they took to conceive. Women reported their and their partners’ occupational and home pesticide exposure preceding conception. In a subset (N = 289), levels of DDT and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), were measured in maternal serum.

Results: No associations were seen with p, p′-DDT, o, p′-DDT, or p, p′-DDE. Maternal occupational pesticide exposure (fecundability odds ratios [fOR] = 0.8, 95% CI: 0.6 to 1.0), home pesticide use (fOR = 0.6, 95% CI: 0.4 to 0.9), and residence within 200 ft of an agricultural field (fOR = 0.7, 95% CI: 0.5 to 1.0) were associated with reduced fecundability (ie, longer TTP).

Conclusions: Longer TTP was seen among women, but not men, reporting exposure to agricultural and home pesticides.

From the Center for Children’s Environmental Health Research (Drs Harley, Marks, Bradman, and Eskenazi), School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Calif; and Division of Laboratory Sciences (Dr Barr), National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga.

CME Available for this Article at ACOEM.org

This work was supported by grants from the U.S. EPA (RD 83171001), NIEHS (PO1 ES009605), and NIOSH (RO1 OH007400). Kim G. Harley, Amy R. Marks, Asa Bradman, Dana B. Barr, and Brenda Eskenazi have no financial interests related to this research.

Address correspondence to: Kim Harley, PhD, Center for Children’s Environmental Health Research, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, 2150 Shattuck Ave, Suite 600, Berkeley, CA 94704-7380; E-mail: kharley@berkeley.edu.

Copyright © 2008 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine