(HealthDay News) – Fetal exposure to organophosphate (OP) insecticides can affect the length of gestation and birth weight.

To investigate the association between prenatal OP exposure with gestational age and birth weight, Stephen A. Rauch, MPH, from the BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues measured the concentrations of six nonspecific dialkyl phosphate (DAP) metabolites of OP insecticides in two maternal spot urine samples collected in a prospective birth cohort.

Among 306 mother-infant dyads, the researchers found that a 10-fold increase in the sum of six DAP (ΣDAP) concentrations correlated with a reduction in the adjusted gestational age (−0.5 weeks) and birth weight (−151g). After adjusting for gestational age, the decrements in birth weight were reduced. For white newborns, the correlation between ΣDAP concentrations and gestational age was stronger than for blacks (−0.7 vs. −0.1 weeks). With increasing urinary ΣDAP concentrations, there was a greater decrease in birth weight for black newborns than for white newborns (−188g vs. −118g) The greatest decreases in birth weight and gestational age associated with ΣDAP concentrations were seen among infants with PON192QR and PON108CT genotypes.

“Prenatal urinary ΣDAP concentrations were associated with shortened gestation and reduced birth weight in this cohort, but the effects differed by race/ethnicity and PON1192/108 genotypes,” the authors write.

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