Study shows that exposure to pesticides can cause reproductive disorders

Notícia publicada em:

  • 7 de Novembro de 2014

A study prepared by the PhD student in Public Health and Environment of the National School of Public Health (Ensp/Fiocruz), Cleber Cremonese, noted that a large number of pesticides has ability to deregulation of the human endocrine system, which alters the levels of sex hormones and cause adverse effects, especially on the reproductive system. Breast and ovarian cancer, menstrual cycle deregulation, testicular and prostate cancer, infertility, decline of seminal quality and reproductive organ malformation are some of the examples of such complications. For Sharad, with increased national consumption of pesticides, both in agribusiness and in family farming, grow the evidence that the use of these substances is not only related specifically to agricultural production, but turns into a public health problem.

To assess the exposure to pesticides and the possible impacts of this exposure at the levels of sex hormones in men and women, in addition to the quality of semen of adults and young people, the doctoral candidate took his research on observation of rural residents of the municipality of Farroupilha-RS.  Two cross-sectional studies were made, with specific goals, methodologies and populations of private collection. The thesis investigated, in the first study, adults of both sexes, farmworkers and their family members, aged between 18 and 69 years. In the second study,  the young rural and urban residents attended the research, aged between 18 and 23 years.

In the survey, as the student explained, blood and semen samples to measure metabolic activity levels, sex hormone levels and other biochemical parameters, and sperm parameters were collected. Questionnaires were applied also to identify possible factors associated with reproductive outcomes, in addition to descriptive analyses and bivariate and multivariate regressions, performed to identify possible associations.

In the first study, men who had major contacts with pesticides presented a 14% increase in testosterone concentration and reduction of luteinizing hormone (LH) of 20%; the sexual hormone carrier globulin (SHBG) showed significant positive association with levels of butyrylcholinesterase (BChE). In relation to the ones who worked for more than 25 years in agriculture, it was observed a 20% reduction in levels of this hormone. In women who have worked in the last three months lower levels of prolactin was found. In logistic regression, men using insecticides and pesticides organophosphates, respectively, had less chance of having prolactin decreased. Similarly, it was observed in women an inverse association between contact with pesticides as reffered high and the chance to introduce the reduced prolactin.

In the second study, the changes in the levels of sex hormones have been associated with the characteristics of pregnancy and birth, with higher levels of exposure to pesticides and with housing. As for the sperm parameters, motility was significantly lower in rural than in urban youth, from those who reported contact with pesticides and fungicides used at the time of collection. The morphology has been reduced between 15% and 32% in rural residents and with greater contacts with pesticides. Significant differences were observed also in sexual anatomical measures (testicular volume and anogenital distance) as regards the location of housing, exposure to pesticides and pregnancy features.

From these observations, Cleber concluded that the findings are suggestive of chronic exposures to the pesticides interfering in the regulation of sex hormones in adults, as well as in the quality of the young people of seminal study area.

Effects of agrochemicals extend to neurological, respiratory and liver problems

In Brazil, the use of pesticides is extremely relevant in the agricultural sector development model. As a result, the country is now the world’s largest consumer of substances. According to the student, the use of these agents have also been associated with the development of neurodegenerative diseases, such as parkinson’s, cognitive disorders, psychiatric disorders, respiratory and immunological changes and kidney and liver problems. “Studies show also association between intrauterine exposure to pesticides and teratogenic effects, such as congenital malformations, miscarriage and low birth weight. “, he mentioned.

For Cleber, chronic exposure to pesticides, in addition to the lack of personal protection during handling, in addition to the grace period and knowledge with regard to the risks of contact and the shortage of public programs in order to reduce the heavy use and bring alternatives in growing food, are among the main problems associated with the increasing use of these substances and hence the increase in the occurrence of adverse reproductive health outcomes of the rural population, especially agricultural workers organized under the family agriculture regime.

To resolve these issues implicated by the use of pesticides, the student suggests conducting new studies to better assess the exposure of the population investigated and other rural populations in Brazil, using a longitudinal design, which can better measure and understand the complexity of chronic exposure to pesticides, their effects on human health and possible implications in future generations. It is important that interventions are carried out in the short, medium and long term to reduce or minimize the damage to the health of populations at risk, he pointed out.

 Source: Informe Ensp.