Fetuses exposed to these substances would sleep longer during adolescence


  • Chlorpyrifos and pyrethroids are two pesticides commonly found in insecticides.
  • The need for sleep varies from person to person, generally varying between 6 and 10 hours.

“Our study shows that early exposure to pesticides, even before child birth, can have lasting effects on adolescent sleep health,” says Astrid Zamora, lead author of a study published in the journal environmental research.

During their work, the scientists studied women’s exposure to non-commercial pesticides, i.e. those found in certain everyday products such as insecticides or even food. More specifically, they tried to understand the effects of two of them: chlorpyrifos and pyrethroids.

Longer sleep only for girls

To do this, they analyzed urine samples from 137 pregnant women who were taken in the third trimester of pregnancy. They lived in Mexico. Then they did a sleep study of their child when they were teenagers.

Findings: They discovered that exposure of pregnant women to chlorpyrifos had an effect on their children’s sleep once they reached their teens… But only in girls. In fact, the affected teenagers had a longer sleep duration than the fetuses not exposed to chlorpyrifos. On the other hand, the scientists observed no effects on sleep when exposed to pyrethroids.

A limitation of this study

“Taken together, these results are of public health importance given the widespread and ongoing agricultural and possibly private use of pyrethroids and chlorpyrifos in Mexico.”believes Astrid Zamora.

One of the methodological limitations of this study concerns the devices used to analyze the sleep of adolescent girls. These deniers cannot distinguish sleep from the mere fact of stillness. So scientists don’t know if this longer sleep duration is real or if it’s due to sleep disorders or nocturnal awakenings.

The need for further research

In the future, they therefore want to do more research to determine the reasons for this higher sleep duration. “Studies with larger sample sizes and the evaluation of unregulated pesticides are needed to better understand this association and the underlying mechanisms that explain gender differences.” concludes Astrid Zamora.

Leave a Comment