Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

According to a study conducted by the UGR, 100 per cent of pregnant women have at least one kind of pesticide in their placenta

04.09.2006
Human beings are directly responsible for more than 110,000 chemical substances which have been generated since the Industrial Revolution. Every year, we “invent” more than 2,000 new substances, most of them contaminants, which are emitted into the environment and which are consequently present in food, air, soil and water.

Nonetheless, human beings are also victims of these emissions, and involuntarily (what is known in this scientific field as “inadvertent exposure”), every day humans ingest many of these substances which cannot be assimilated by our body, and are accumulated in the fatty parts of our tissues.

This is especially worrying for pregnant women. During the gestation period, all the contaminants accumulated in the organism have direct access to the microenvironment where the embryo/foetus develops. The doctoral thesis “Maternal-child exposure via the placenta to environmental chemical substances with hormonal activity”, written by María José López Espinosa, from the Department of Radiology and Physical Medicine of the University of Granada [http://www.ugr.es], analyzes the presence of organochlorine pesticides –normally used as pesticides- in the organisms of pregnant women.

The analysis was developed at San Cecilio University Hospital , in Granada, with 308 women who had given birth to healthy children between 2000 and 2002. The results are alarming: 100% of these pregnant women had at least one pesticide in their placenta, but the average rate amounts to eight different kinds of chemical substances.

Fifteen different pesticides in the organisms of pregnant women

In her study, through the analysis of the placentas, López studied the presence of 17 endocrine disruptive organochlorine pesticides (i.e., pesticides which interfere with the proper performance of the hormonal system). The results showed that the most frequent pesticides present in the placenta tissue are DDE (92.7%), lindane (74.8%), endosulfan diol (62.1%) y endosulfan-I (54.2%). Among these, the most prevalent was endosulfan-diol, with an average concentration of 4.15 nanograms per gram of placenta (156.73 ng/g lipid). Surprisingly, the UGR [http://www.ugr.es] researcher discovered that some patients’ placentas contained 15 of the 17 pesticides analyzed.

A total of 668 samples from pregnant women were used in this study, which was approved by the Ethical Commission of the San Cecilio University Hospital. Mothers were informed of the study’s goals before giving their express consent.

Thanks to the gynaecologists, the nurses and the midwives who participated in the study, biological samples were extracted from the blood, the umbilical cord and the placenta during childbirth. The following day, an epidemiological survey was carried out by trained survey statisticians. The survey contained questions on the general data of the parents, their places of residence, profession, medical history, anthropometric information, age, tobacco habits, lifestyle and diet during pregnancy, among other factors.

The study made at the UGR has facilitated research into the association of the characteristics of parents, newborn babies and childbirth with exposure to pesticides found in the mothers’ placenta. Among the aspects associated with a higher presence of pesticides we find an older age, higher body mass index, less weight gained during pregnancy, lower educational level, higher workplace exposure, first-time motherhood and lower weight in babies.

“Serious effects on the baby”

According to María José López, “we do not really know the consequences of exposure to disruptive pesticides in children, but we can predict that they may have serious effects, since this placenta exposure occurs at key moments of the embryo’s development”. The research group to which María José López belongs, directed by Prof. Nicolás Olea Serrano, has conducted several studies which associate exposure to pesticides with neonatal malformations if the genito-urinary system, such as cryptorchidism (undropped testicles) and hypospadias (total fusion of the urethral folds).

The UGR researcher underlines the fact that, in spite of “inadvertent exposure”, “it is possible to control pesticide ingestion by means of a proper diet, which should be healthy and balanced, through consumption of food whose chemical content is low. Moreover, daily exercise and the avoidance of tobacco (which could also be a source of inadvertent exposure) are very important habits which help to control the presence of pesticides in our organisms.

The UGR researcher’s work is framed within the objectives established in the research project ”Increasing incidence of human male reproductive health disorders in relation to environmental effects on growth-and sex steroid-induced alterations in programmed development” (Environmental Reproductive Health), directed and carried out by a multidisciplinary group of clinicians, basic researchers and epidemiologists at several institutions from countries such as Denmark, Finland or England and financed by the European Union (QLK4-1999-01422).

Antonio Marín Ruiz | alfa
Further information:
http://prensa.ugr.es/prensa/research/index.php

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

Im Focus: A transistor of graphene nanoribbons

Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."

Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

Blockchain is becoming more important in the energy market

05.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making fuel out of thick air

08.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Rules for superconductivity mirrored in 'excitonic insulator'

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

Smartphone case offers blood glucose monitoring on the go

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>