Researchers examine biomarkers for hypertension, pesticide exposure in children from Ecuador
11/26/2019 // Evangelyn Rodriguez // Views

In this study, researchers from the University of California, San Diego and the University of Minnesota examined the association of time following a heightened agricultural production period – the Mother's Day flower harvest in May – with children's blood pressure. Their findings were published in the journal Environmental Research.

  • Agricultural pesticide spray periods increase pesticide exposure for children living nearby. Studies show that pesticide exposure has an adverse effect on children's health.
  • The researchers included cross-sectional information of 313 children aged 4-9 in Ecuadorian agricultural communities (the ESPINA study). They conducted their examination during a period of low flower production but within 63-100 days following the Mother's Day harvest.
  • They used a pediatric sphygmomanometer to measure the children's blood pressure twice. They also calculated percentiles appropriate for age, gender and height.
  • The researchers reported that the participants were 51 percent male, 1.6 percent hypertensive and 7.7 percent had elevated blood pressure.
  • The mean blood pressure percentiles were 51.7 for systolic and 33.3 for diastolic.
  • After adjusting for race, heart rate and BMI-for-age z-score, the researchers observed an inverse relationship between the time after the spray season and percentiles of systolic and diastolic BP. They also observed a curvilinear association with diastolic BP.
  • The researchers reported that the blood pressure of children examined sooner after the pesticide spray period was higher than those examined later.
  • They also found an increased risk of hypertension/pre-hypertension in children examined sooner.
  • In addition, time after the spray season was positively associated with acetylcholinesterase.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that a heightened pesticide spray period increases blood pressure and the expression of pesticide exposure markers in children.

 Journal Reference:

Suarez-Lopez JR, Amchich F, Murillo J, Denenberg J. BLOOD PRESSURE AFTER A HEIGHTENED PESTICIDE SPRAY PERIOD AMONG CHILDREN LIVING IN AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITIES IN ECUADOR. Environmental Research. August 2019;175:335–342. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.05.030

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