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Acetylcholinesterase activity, cohabitation with floricultural workers, and blood pressure in Ecuadorian children.

Suarez-Lopez JR; Jacobs DR Jr.; Himes JH; Alexander BH
Environ Health Perspect 2013 May; 121(5):619-624
BACKGROUND: Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors are commonly used pesticides that can effect hemodynamic changes through increased cholinergic stimulation. Children of agricultural workers are likely to have paraoccupational exposures to pesticides, but the potential physiological impact of such exposures is unclear. OBJECTIVES: We investigated whether secondary pesticide exposures were associated with blood pressure and heart rate among children living in agricultural Ecuadorian communities. METHODS: This cross-sectional study included 271 children 4-9 years of age [51% cohabited with one or more flower plantation workers (mean duration, 5.2 years)]. Erythrocyte AChE activity was measured using the EQM Test-mate system. Linear regression models were used to estimate associations of systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and heart rate with AChE activity, living with flower workers, duration of cohabitation with a flower worker, number of flower workers in the child's home, and number of practices that might increase children's exposure to pesticides. RESULTS: Mean (+/- SD) AChE activity was 3.14 +/- 0.49 U/mL. A 1-U/mL decrease in AChE activity was associated with a 2.86-mmHg decrease in SBP (95% CI: -5.20, -0.53) and a 2.89-mmHg decrease in DBP (95% CI: -5.00, -0.78), after adjustment for potential confounders. Children living with flower workers had lower SBP (-1.72 mmHg; 95% CI: -3.53, 0.08) than other children, and practices that might increase exposure also were associated with lower SBP. No significant associations were found between exposures and heart rate. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that subclinical secondary exposures to pesticides may affect vascular reactivity in children. Additional research is needed to confirm these findings.
Pesticides; Pesticides-and-agricultural-chemicals; Agriculture; Agricultural-workers; Agricultural-industry; Humans; Men; Women; Children; Exposure-levels; Risk-factors; Physiological-effects; Physiology; Statistical-analysis; Epidemiology; Author Keywords: acetylcholinesterase; AChE; agricultural communities; agriculture; blood pressure; children; Ecuador; epidemiology; pesticides; secondary exposure
J.R. Suarez-Lopez, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, 1300 South 2nd St., Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55454
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
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Fiscal Year
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Grant-Number-R36-OH-009402; M112013
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Environmental Health Perspectives
Performing Organization
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
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