Traces of pesticides in the urine of pregnant women

Brittany, France - A dossier on biomonitoring published by the National Institute of Health Surveillance (InVS) indicates that traces of potentially toxic pesticides have been found in the urine of pregnant women.

As part of its weekly epidemiological bulletin, InVS devotes a special issue to biomonitoring. Among the research cited on the impact of smoking and exposure to pesticides, a study by a team of Inserm Rennes directly concerns France.

Between 2002 and 2006, urine samples of more than 500 women in early pregnancy were collected and analyzed in order to detect the possible presence of herbicides from the family of triazine and organophosphate insecticides, potentially toxic for reproduction and neuro development.

Since late 2003, atrazine and simazine, herbicides from the family of triazines, are banned in France but their degradation products seep into the waters and make them still very present in the environment. Atrazine is still widely used around the world, despite its highly toxic effects on animal embryos. The organophosphate insecticides have neurotoxic effects even at low exposure levels.

The presence of traces of triazine was observed in a small number of women, but the presence of traces of insecticides has been found in more frequent and higher levels. These rates remain lower than those measured in the Netherlands and especially the United States in the State of California.

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