University of Oulu

Palaniswamy, S., Abass, K., Rysä, J., Odland, J. Ø., Grimalt, J. O., Rautio, A., & Järvelin, M.-R. (2021). Non-occupational exposure to pesticides and health markers in general population in Northern Finland: Differences between sexes. Environment International, 156, 106766.

Non-occupational exposure to pesticides and health markers in general population in Northern Finland : differences between sexes

Saved in:
Author: Palaniswamy, Saranya1,2; Abass, Khaled3,4; Rysä, Jaana5;
Organizations: 1Center for Life Course Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
3Arctic Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Department of Pesticides, Menoufia University, Menoufia, Egypt
5School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
6NTNU The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
7Department of General Hygiene, I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Moscow, Russia
8Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA), Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
9Thule Institute, University of Arctic, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
10Unit of Primary Care, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
11MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
12Department of Life Sciences, College of Health and Life Sciences, Brunel University London, London, United Kingdom
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-10-11


Background: Occupational exposure to pesticides has been reported among general population worldwide. However, little is known about the associations between non-occupational exposure to pesticides, and biological markers of health and their response by sex.

Objectives: We aimed to assess the associations between non-occupational overall pesticide exposure, length of exposure and specific pesticides reported with 35 biological markers of health representing cardiometabolic, haematological, lung function, sex hormones, liver and kidney function profiles, and vitamin D in Finnish cohort.

Methods: 31-year cross-sectional examination of the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 provided blood samples for biomarker measurements in 1997–1998. Number of subjects varied between 2361 and 5037 for given exposures and certain outcome associations. Multivariable regression analyses were performed to examine associations between overall pesticide exposure (OPE), length of pesticide exposure in months (PEM), in years (PEY), and specific pesticides use (PEU) or not with cardiometabolic [SBP, DBP, TC, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, fasting glucose, insulin, HOMA-IR, HOMA-B, HOMA-S, hs-CRP], hematological [WBC, RBC, Hb, HCT, MCV, MCH, MCHC, platelets], lung function (FVC, FEV1), sex hormones [luteinizing hormone (LH), testosterone (TT), sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG)], liver and kidney function profiles [total protein, albumin, globulin, ALP, ALT, GGT, urea, creatinine], and vitamin D adjusting for sex, BMI, socioeconomic position (SEP) and season of pesticide use.

Results: This cohort study on up to 5037 adults with non-occupational OPE, PEM, PEY and PEU differed by sex and SEP. In regression analyses, all the exposures were positively associated with total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and PEU was negatively associated with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in females. OPE and PEM were positively associated with haematocrit in females and PEU with platelets in males. PEU was negatively associated with mean corpuscular haemoglobin. OPE and PEM were positively associated with LH in males. OPE was negatively associated with total protein and albumin in males.

Conclusions: In Finnish young adults, non-occupational overall pesticide exposure, length of exposure and specific pesticides were associated with multiple biological markers of health. The biological markers seem to be indicative of adverse effects of pesticides and warrant for further studies to replicate the findings and determine the underlying mechanisms.

see all

Series: Environment international
ISSN: 0160-4120
ISSN-E: 1873-6750
ISSN-L: 0160-4120
Volume: 156
Article number: 106766
DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106766
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
3141 Health care science
Funding: This research was supported by the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme EDCMET (grant number 825762); Academy of Finland grant numbers 24300796, 24302031, 285547 (EGEA); the Medical Research Council (MRC) UK (grant number G0601653); Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council PREcisE (Nutrition & Epigenome, The Joint Programming Initiative a Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life (JPI HDHL/EU-H2020, grant reference: MR/S03658X/1)); Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation, Päivikki and Sakari Sohlberg Foundation sr; NFBC1966 received financial support from University of Oulu Grant no. 65354, Oulu University Hospital Grant no. 2/97, 8/97, Ministry of Health and Social Affairs Grant no. 23/251/97, 160/97, 190/97, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki Grant no. 54121 and Regional Institute of Occupational Health, Oulu, Finland Grant no. 50621, 54231.
EU Grant Number: (825762) EDCMET - Metabolic effects of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: novel testing METhods and adverse outcome pathways
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 285547
Detailed Information: 285547 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (