A biomarker validation study of prenatal chlorpyrifos exposure within an inner-city cohort during pregnancy

Background: We previously documented significant decreases in chlorpyrifos concentrations in maternal personal and indoor air samples among pregnant African-American and Dominican women from New York City after the 2000–2001 restrictions on its residential use.

Objective: We undertook a biomarker validation study within the same cohort to evaluate trends over time in multiple biomarkers of prenatal chlorpyrifos exposure.

Methods: Subjects were enrolled between February 2001 and May 2004 (n = 102). We measured 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCPy) in postpartum meconium (n = 83), repeat prenatal maternal spot urine samples (n = 253), and postnatal urine from the mothers (n = 73) and newborns (n = 59). We measured chlorpyrifos in postnatal maternal (n = 92) and umbilical cord (n = 65) blood.

Results: We did not detect TCPy in infant urine, but all other biomarkers showed a highly significant decrease in detection frequencies (χ2 = 7.8–34.0, p ≤ 0.005) and mean ranks (p ≤ 0.006, Kruskal–Wallis) among subjects enrolled in 2003–2004 compared with those enrolled in 2001–2002. Chlorpyrifos in maternal personal and indoor air declined 2- to 3-fold over the same period (p < 0.05). In 2001–2002 samples, TCPy levels in repeat prenatal urine were positively correlated (r = 0.23–0.56), but within-subject variability exceeded between-subject variability (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.43); indoor air levels explained 19% of the variance in prenatal urine TCPy (p = 0.001). Meconium TCPy concentrations were positively correlated with chlorpyrifos in maternal and cord blood (r = 0.25–0.33, p < 0.05) and with TCPy in maternal urine (r = 0.31, p < 0.01).

Conclusions: Results suggest the biomarkers are reliable dosimeters to differentiate between groups with prenatal chlorpyrifos exposures varying by a factor of 2 or more and vividly illustrate the efficacy of residential restriction on chlorpyrifos to reduce the internal dose during pregnancy.

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