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Garry et al., 2003

Garry VF, Holland SE, Erickson LL, Burroughs BL, “Male reproductive hormones and thyroid function in pesticide applicators in the Red River Valley of Minnesota,” Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health – Part A, 2003, 66:11.

ABSTRACT: In the present effort, 144 pesticide applicators and 49 urban control subjects who reported no chronic disease were studied. Applicators provided records of the season’s pesticides used by product, volumes, dates, and methods of application. Blood specimens for examination of hormone levels were obtained in summer and fall. In the herbicide-only applicator group, significant increases in testosterone levels in fall compared to summer and also elevated levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) in the fall were noted. With respect to fungicide use, in an earlier cross-sectional epidemiologic study, data demonstrated that historic fungicide use was associated with a significant alteration of the sex ratio of children borne to applicators. As before, among current study subjects it was noted that historic fungicide use was associated with increased numbers of girls being born. Lower mean total testosterone concentrations by quartile were also correlated with increased numbers of live-born female infants. A downward summer to fall seasonal shift in thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) concentrations occurred among applicators but not among controls. Farmers who had aerial application of fungicides to their land in the current season showed a significant shift in TSH values (from 1.75 to 1.11 mU/L). Subclinical hypothyroidism was noted in 5/144 applicators (TSH values >4.5 mU/L), but not in urban control subjects. Based on current and past studies, it was concluded that, in addition to pesticide exposure, individual susceptibility and perhaps economic factors may play a supporting role in the reported results.

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