Experimental evidence suggests pesticides may be associated with hypospadias.
Examine the association of hypospadias with residential proximity to commercial agricultural pesticide applications.
The study population included male infants born from 1991 to 2004 to mothers residing in 8 California counties. Cases (n = 690) were ascertained by the California Birth Defects Monitoring Program; controls were selected randomly from the birth population (n = 2195). We determined early pregnancy exposure to pesticide applications within a 500-m radius of mother’s residential address, using detailed data on applications and land use. Associations with exposures to physicochemical groups of pesticides and specific chemicals were assessed using logistic regression adjusted for maternal race or ethnicity and age and infant birth year.
Forty-one percent of cases and controls were classified as exposed to 57 chemical groups and 292 chemicals. Despite >500 statistical comparisons, there were few elevated odds ratios with confidence intervals that excluded 1 for chemical groups or specific chemicals. Those that did were for monochlorophenoxy acid or ester herbicides; the insecticides aldicarb, dimethoate, phorate, and petroleum oils; and adjuvant polyoxyethylene sorbitol among all cases; 2,6-dinitroaniline herbicides, the herbicide oxyfluorfen, and the fungicide copper sulfate among mild cases; and chloroacetanilide herbicides, polyalkyloxy compounds used as adjuvants, the insecticides aldicarb and acephate, and the adjuvant nonyl-phenoxy-poly(ethylene oxy)ethanol among moderate and severe cases. Odds ratios ranged from 1.9 to 2.9.
Most pesticides were not associated with elevated hypospadias risk. For the few that were associated, results should be interpreted with caution until replicated in other study populations.