Pesticides In Pregnant Jerusalemites Higher Than NYC Counterparts

Pregnant women in Jerusalem might not be receiving adequate protection against harmful pesticides, while those with graduate degrees had the highest levels of all.

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:

Israeli Company Makhteshim-Agan Industries Invests $1 Billion in Pesticides

High Incidence of Parkinson’s Disease in Baqa al-Gharbiyeh Linked to Pesticide Exposure

Make Bugs, Not Pesticides

image via superbez

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4 thoughts on “Pesticides In Pregnant Jerusalemites Higher Than NYC Counterparts”

  1. jjstar says:

    None of this is published in Hebrew btw – so the majority of the population who don’t surf in English, will probably not ever get to learn of these findings. I think it’s high time we named the issue at hand and that is – the air, water, soil and food are all contaminated with pesticides. Water is recycled – or filtered – but the residue remains. This goes back into the food supply. The produce then receives a double-whammy – once being irrigated with recycled water with the pesticide residues and twice being sprayed with the chemicals.

    Let them test the population of Israel – all ages, all physical conditions – and I can pretty much guarantee that the levels that we all have in our bodies will match if not exceed that of the pregnant women.
    For the poor who cannot afford organic – or have no access to organic fruits and vegetables (see also the majority of the people of Israel) this is genocide. Plain and simple.

  2. The women were reported having used “household products,” so not necessarily building extermination, but household pesticides of some kind.

  3. Why does the study assume the pesticides are for building extermination? What about food sources? I think the levels here are quite high. I will find out from my contact with full access to the study.

    1. Anyone can email the first author of the study to get the full report. I’ve sent him the link and hope he responds. It’s scary to hear about these results, but good news that people in the Middle East region are at least asking questions about these things now.

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