Background: Organophosphates and pyrethroids are two major groups of insecticides used for crop protection worldwide. They are neurotoxicants and exposure during vulnerable windows of brain development may have long-term impact on human neurodevelopment. Only few longitudinal studies have investigated associations between prenatal exposure to these substances and intelligence quotient (IQ) at school age in populations with low, mainly dietary, exposure. Objective: To investigate associations between maternal urinary concentrations of insecticide metabolites at gestational week 28 and IQ in offspring at 7-years of age. Materials and methods: Data was derived from the Odense Child Cohort (OCC). Metabolites of chlorpyrifos (TCPy) and pyrethroids (3-PBA, cis- and trans-DCCA, 4-F-3PBA, cis-DBCA) were measured in maternal urine collected at gestational week (GW) 28. An abbreviated version of the Danish Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children fifth edition (WISC-V) consisting of four subtests to estimate full scale IQ (FSIQ) was administered by trained psychologists. Data were analyzed by use of multiple linear regression and adjusted for confounders. Results: 812 mother/child-pairs were included. Median concentrations were 0.21 μg/L for 3-PBA, 1.67 μg/L for TCPy and the mean IQ for children were 99.4. Null association between maternal 3-PBA and child IQ at 7 years was seen, but with trends suggesting an inverse association. There was a significant association for maternal TCPy and child IQ at mid-level exposure. Trans-DCCA above the level of detection (LOD) was also associated with slightly lower child IQ, but the association was also not statistically significant. Conclusions: We found no significant associations between maternal 3-PBA metabolites and child IQ at 7 years, but with trends suggesting an inverse association. A non-significant trend between maternal TCPy exposure and child IQ in 7-year-children was seen even in this low exposed population. Given the widespread exposure and increasing use of insecticides, this should be elaborated in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107352
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

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  • Chlorpyrifos
  • Cognitive development
  • Cohort study
  • IQ
  • Neurotoxicology
  • Pyrethroids


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