(HealthDay News) – Two organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), β-hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) and mirex, are associated with the risk of endometriosis, according to a study published online Nov. 5 in Environmental Health Perspectives.

In an effort to examine the correlation between OCPs and endometriosis risk, Kristen Upson, PhD, MPH, from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues used data from the Women’s Risk of Endometriosis study, involving 18- to 49-year-old females enrolled in a large health care system in western Washington State. OCP concentrations were measured in sera from 248 surgically confirmed endometriosis cases (diagnosed between 1996 and 2001) and 538 controls.

The researchers found that the risk of endometriosis was increased in association with serum concentrations of β-HCH (third vs. lowest quartile: odds ratio [OR], 1.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1–2.8; highest vs. lowest quartile: OR, 1.3; 95% CI, 0.8–2.4) and mirex (highest vs. lowest category: OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1–2.2). In analyses restricting cases to those with ovarian endometriosis, the association between serum β-HCH concentrations and endometriosis was stronger (third vs. lowest quartile: OR, 2.5; highest vs. lowest quartile: OR, 2.5).

“Extensive past use of environmentally persistent OCPs in the United States or present use in other countries may impact the health of reproductive-age women,” the authors conclude.

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