Monday, March 23, 2015

Pesticides Increase Likelihood for Micropenis and Other Congenital Diseases

pesticide misuse may cause micropenisA 2012 study, published at the International journal of Andrology, reveals that pesticide misuse highly increases the risk of males to be born with the micropenis condition and/or other genital malformation(s).

Let's see the study in more details:

Purpose of the study
Most pesticides contain certain endocrine-disrupting chemicals which -prior to the study- were thought to increase the likelihood of genital disorders. The study's main aim was to assess whether this theory was true or not.

The study was carried out in Northeastern Brazil, an area were residents make widespread use of pesticides.

The study lasted for 2 years and in this period a total of 2710 male newborns were examined in the regional hospitals of Campina Grande. The babies were examined for genital malformations (like micropenis, hypospadias and cryptorchidism).

All babies that were found positive for congenital malformation were also checked for possible endocrine and genetic causes. The total number of boys positive for genital malformations was 56:
  • 23 had cryptorchidism (0.85%)
  • 15 hypospadias (0.55%)
  • 18 micropenis(0.66%).
  • 92 % of the above affected infants, presented with foetal contamination by EDCs

Findings
In this study the ratio for micropenis was 0,66 %. According to the medical literature, the normal ratio for micropenis is about 0,5 %. The difference is about 0,15 %, which may sound low, but it actually means that the micropenis incidence in that area was increased by 30 %. 

Furthermore, the fact that 92 % of the affected babies were contaminated by EDCS is a clear indication that pesticides played a significant role in the increased numbers of genital malformations.

Additionally and according to the study:
  • 80.36% of the mothers 
  • 58.63% of the fathers 
reported some kind of daily activity involving the use of pesticides or other materials containing  EDCs before and/or during pregnancy, again a clear indication that EDCs contribute to a higher micropenis ratio.

With the above in mind, the authors concluded

"The high rate of micropenis in our population associated with an elevated percentage of parental environmental/occupational exposure to EDCs before/during pregnancy indicates that foetal contamination may be a risk factor for the development of male external genital malformation."

Reference
Gaspari L, Sampaio DR, Paris F, Audran F, Orsini M, Neto JB, & Sultan C (2012). High prevalence of micropenis in 2710 male newborns from an intensive-use pesticide area of Northeastern Brazil. International journal of andrology, 35 (3), 253-64 PMID: 22372605

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