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Prenatal pesticide exposure and otitis media during early childhood in the PELAGIE mother–child cohort
  1. Camille Buscail1,
  2. Cécile Chevrier1,
  3. Tania Serrano1,
  4. Fabienne Pelé1,2,
  5. Christine Monfort1,
  6. Sylvaine Cordier1,
  7. Jean-François Viel1,2
  1. 1INSERM-IRSET n°1085, Epidemiological Research on Environment, Reproduction and Development, University of Rennes I, Rennes, France
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University Hospital, Rennes, France
  1. Correspondence to Professor Jean-François Viel, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University Hospital, 2 rue Henri Le Guilloux, 35033 Rennes cedex 9, France; jean-francois.viel{at}


Objective Contemporary pesticides, such as triazines or organophosphates, possess immunotoxic properties. We aimed to determine whether prenatal environmental exposure to these current-use pesticides was associated with otitis media (OM) during the first 2 years of life among children from the PELAGIE mother–child cohort.

Methods The PELAGIE cohort enrolled 3421 women at the beginning of pregnancy in Brittany (France). At the 2-year follow-up, 1505 families completed a self-administered questionnaire, including the domestic use of pesticides and consumption of organic diet during pregnancy and occurrences of OM in the child. Two health outcomes were considered: at least one OM and recurrent OM (at least three). Multivariate logistic regression models that adjusted for known risk factors of OM were performed. Metabolites of triazine herbicides and organophosphate insecticides measured in urine collected before the 19th week of gestation (248 mothers) were considered in a subgroup analysis. Multiple imputation was used to handle missing values for the covariates.

Results Children whose mothers reported an organic diet during pregnancy had a reduced risk of OM (at least one episode, p trend=0.01). No association was found between any outcome and residential proximity to crops. The presence in maternal urine of dealkylated triazine metabolites (OR=2.12 (1.01 to 4.47)) was positively associated with recurrent OM.

Conclusions To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work to suggest a positive association between prenatal exposure to current-use pesticides and the occurrence of parent-reported OM in young children.

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