mixtures for hypospadias: Using insect repellents in early pregnancy could put unborn boys at risk
- "...individual biocides were not linked with an increased risk of
hypospadias, but high use of several biocides was associated with a 73%
increased risk. Insect repellent use in the first three months was
linked with an 81% increased risk of hypospadias."
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Insect Repellent Use Associated with Hypospadias
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Possible defect link to fly sprays
(UKPA) -- 15 hours ago
Using insect repellents in early pregnancy could put unborn boys at risk
of a birth defect, research suggests.
If used in the first three months, chemicals in the repellents could
increase the risk of hypospadias by 81%, it found.
Hypospadias is when the tube (urethra) that carries urine and semen from
the bladder to the opening at the tip of the penis is too short, leaving
the opening on the underside of the penis instead of at the end. The
condition is thought to affect around one to two baby boys in every 500.
The research, published online in the journal Occupational and
Environmental Medicine, included 471 babies with hypospadias and 490
acting as a comparison group. Their mothers, all living in the South
East of England, were asked a series of questions, including whether
they had been exposed to insect repellents and biocide chemicals, such
as pesticides or weedkillers.
They were asked about their own use of fly sprays, repellents, animal
poisons, pet flea treatments and nit shampoos and asked geographical
questions, for example if they lived less than a mile from an
Their exposure levels were then calculated using a score from 0 to 8.
The experts found that individual biocides were not linked with an
increased risk of hypospadias, but high use of several biocides was
associated with a 73% increased risk. Insect repellent use in the first
three months was linked with an 81% increased risk of hypospadias.
The experts, from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology
in Barcelona and Imperial College London, concluded: "(We) found an
association between the use of insect repellent and total biocide score
and risk of hypospadias."
Insect repellents can contain N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide, popularly known
as DEET. High doses of DEET have been found to be toxic and can cross
the placental barrier, but its consequences are not well understood, the
Professor Alan Boobis, director of the department of health toxicology
unit at Imperial College London, said: "This study provides some
evidence of an association between exposure to insect repellents and the
risk of hypospadias. As the authors themselves point out, there are a
number of caveats that need to be borne in mind."
Professor Anthony Dayan, former director of the department of toxicology
at St Bart's hospital medical college in London, said: "As the authors
themselves note, their finding is only tentative and preliminary, and,
as is common in such surveys at a distance, the participation rate of
patients was low and some of the essential controls were missing."
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