Revista de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 0124-0064
ROJAS, Maritza; AGREDA, Olga and INFANTE, Saba. A Preliminary Statistical Study of Whether Pesticide use Could be Related to birth defects in a rural area of Venezuela . Rev. salud pública [online]. 2008, vol.10, n.1, pp. 85-93. ISSN 0124-0064. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0124-00642008000100008.
Objectives This study was carried out in response to health authorities' concerns regarding what they considered to be a "high proportion" of birth defects (BD) in a rural Venezuelan state as the preliminary step towards subsequent health assessment regarding exposure to pesticides and possible association with registered BD. Methods This was a cross-sectional descriptive study. Generalised linear modelling (GLM) was used for relating BD with county of origin and the date of the events. Pesticide-use reports were used for assessing exposure to pesticides. Infants' medical records for 1999-2002 were obtained from the state hospital. The study group consisted of 108 BD cases from 8 municipalities. Results The cardiovascular system had the highest frequency (20,4 %) of BD, followed by the gastro-intestinal (18,5 %) and urogenital systems (10,2 %). Anilides were the most frequently used group of liquid pesticides (39,8 %), followed by phosphono-methyl-glycine (19,6 %). The most commonly used solid pesticides were organophosphates (54,4 %). GLM revealed some significant results; the number of BD increased exponentially throughout the years being studied. Conclusions A causal association between BD and potential pesticide exposure could not be demonstrated due to data limitations. A more in-depth exposure assessment and epidemiological studies are still needed for characterising the risk of exposure to pesticides in terms of birth outcomes in the area being studied.
Keywords : Congenital malformation; pesticide; exposure; Venezuela.