Ichikawa et al., 2019

Ichikawa, G., Kuribayashi, R., Ikenaka, Y., Ichise, T., Nakayama, S. M. M., Ishizuka, M., Taira, K., Fujioka, K., Sairenchi, T., Kobashi, G., Bonmatin, J. M., & Yoshihara, S.; “LC-ESI/MS/MS analysis of neonicotinoids in urine of very low birth weight infants at birth;” Plos One, 2019, 14(7), e0219208; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0219208.



Neonicotinoid insecticides are widely used systemic pesticides with nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonist activity that are a concern as environmental pollutants. Neonicotinoids in humans and the environment have been widely reported, but few studies have examined their presence in fetuses and newborns. The objective of this study is to determine exposure to neonicotinoids and metabolites in very low birth weight (VLBW) infants.


An analytical method for seven neonicotinoids and one neonicotinoid metabolite, N-desmethylacetamiprid (DMAP), in human urine using LC-ESI/MS/MS was developed. This method was used for analysis of 57 urine samples collected within 48 hours after birth from VLBW infants of gestational age 23-34 weeks (male/female = 36/21, small for gestational age (SGA)/appropriate gestational age (AGA) = 6/51) who were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit of Dokkyo Hospital from January 2009 to December 2010. Sixty-five samples collected on postnatal day 14 (M/F = 37/22, SGA/AGA = 7/52) were also analyzed.


DMAP, a metabolite of acetamiprid, was detected in 14 urine samples collected at birth (24.6%, median level 0.048 ppb) and in 7 samples collected on postnatal day 14 (11.9%, median level 0.09 ppb). The urinary DMAP detection rate and level were higher in SGA than in AGA infants (both p<0.05). There were no correlations between the DMAP level and infant physique indexes (length, height, and head circumference SD scores).


These results provide the first evidence worldwide of neonicotinoid exposure in newborn babies in the early phase after birth. The findings suggest a need to examine potential neurodevelopmental toxicity of neonicotinoids and metabolites in human fetuses.