Pesticide concentrations in maternal and umbilical cord sera and their relation to birth outcomes in a population of pregnant women and newborns in New Jersey

Sci Total Environ. 2010 Jan 15;408(4):790-5. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.10.007. Epub 2009 Nov 8.


We evaluated in utero exposures to pesticides by measuring maternal and cord serum biomarkers in a New Jersey cohort of pregnant women and the birth outcomes of their neonates. The study was based on 150 women that underwent an elective cesarean delivery at term in a hospital in central New Jersey. We evaluated the following pesticide compounds in both maternal and umbilical cord sera: chlorpyrifos, diazinon, carbofuran, chlorothalonil, dacthal, metolachlor, trifluralin and diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET). Of these compounds, chlorpyrifos, carbofuran, chlorothalonil, trifluralin, metolachlor and DEET were the pesticides most frequently detected in the serum samples. We found high (> or =75th percentile) metolachlor concentrations in cord blood that were related to birth weight (3605 g in upper quartile vs 3399 g; p=0.05). We also observed an increase in abdominal circumference with increasing cord dichloran concentrations (p=0.031). These observations suggest that in utero exposures to certain pesticides may alter birth outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Weight / drug effects
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Environmental Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood* / chemistry
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • New Jersey / epidemiology
  • Pesticides / adverse effects*
  • Pesticides / blood
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome / epidemiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Waist Circumference / drug effects


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Pesticides