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Blood pressure after a heightened pesticide spray period among children living in agricultural communities in Ecuador

Suarez-Lopez, Jose R., Amchich, Fatimaezzahra, Murillo, Jonathan, Denenberg, Julie
Environmental research 2019 v.175 pp. 335-342
blood pressure, child health, children, flowers, heart rate, hypertension, males, pesticides, Ecuador
Agricultural pesticide spray periods increase the pesticide exposure potential of children living nearby and growing evidence indicates that they may affect children's health. We examined the association of time following a heightened agricultural production period, the Mother's Day flower harvest (May), with children's blood pressure (BP).We included cross-sectional information of 313 children ages 4–9 years in Ecuadorian agricultural communities (the ESPINA study). Examinations occurred during a period of low flower production, but within 63–100 days (mean = 81.5, SD = 10.9) following the Mother's Day harvest. BP was measured twice using a pediatric sphygmomanometer and BP percentiles appropriate for age, gender and height were calculated.Participants were 51% male, 1.6% hypertensive and 7.7% had elevated BP. The mean (SD) BP percentiles were: systolic: 51.7 (23.9); diastolic: 33.3 (20.3). There was an inverse relationship between of time after the spray season with percentiles of systolic (difference [β] per 10.9 days after the harvest: −4.3 [95%CI: −6.9, −1.7]) and diastolic BP (β: −7.5 [-9.6, −5.4]) after adjusting for race, heart rate and BMI-for-age z-score. A curvilinear association with diastolic BP was observed. For every 10.9 days that a child was examined sooner after the harvest, the OR of elevated BP/hypertension doubled (OR: 2.0, 95% CI: 1.3, 3.1). Time after the harvest was positively associated with acetylcholinesterase.Children examined sooner after a heightened pesticide spray period had higher blood pressure and pesticide exposure markers than children examined later. Further studies with multiple exposure-outcome measures across pesticide spray periods are needed.