Given the choice between a roach-free house or one filled with scattering critters, most people will take the former. But in some parts of the Middle East, such as the UAE, pests are becoming more pernicious – attributed to rising temperatures and deepening the challenge to get rid of them.
Unfortunately, chemical concoctions used to exterminate pests can be harmful to their “unintended targets,” such as cats, dogs, and pregnant women. So the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s recent findings – that pregnant women in Israel’s capital had high levels of various pesticides in their plasma and urine – is particularly alarming.
Although certain pesticides have proven to be harmful to the neurodevelopment of laboratory animals and humans, to date, no one in Israel has studied their effects on pregnant women. So the Hebrew University collected plasma and urine samples from twenty pregnant Jerusalemites.
Their urine samples were tested for levels of organophosphates (OP) and insecticide metabolites, while their plasma was used to determine OP concentrations. Demographic details were also collected in order to determine what kinds of products the participants were using.
Then, using the Mann-Whitney U-test, the researchers compared the “geometric mean concentrations.”
What essentially emerged is that the creatnine-adjusted total dimethyl (DM) metabolite concentrations were on average four to six times higher than in pregnant American women. It also turns out that women with graduate degrees (smarter?) had greater mean concentrations than lesser educated women.
The mean plasma concentration of bendiocarb and chlorpyrifos (the former responsible for “acute effects” to non-target species and the latter potentially responsible for disturbances in cells’ ability to manage calcium – according to the Dept. of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Washington) was roughly four times higher than amounts present in American women tested for the same.
Although 63% of women surveyed had recently used pesticides and 26% had used them within one month of testing, scientists are unable to speculate why the concentrations are so much higher in Israel than in NYC or the Netherlands.
However, they do raise concerns that pregnant Jerusalemites may not be properly protected from pesticides, after discovering that one woman who was moved from laboratory to administrative work upon becoming pregnant still had considerable levels of pesticide floating through her body.
More pesticide news from the Middle East:
image via superbez