Julia Poska| December 30, 2019
New observational research has found that people with high exposure to common “pyrethroid” insencticides were 56% more likely to die during a study period than others. Cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of death in the exposed.
CGRER member Wei Bao, assistant professor of epidemiology in the University of Iowa College of Public Health, is an author of the study, published Jan. 30 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Pyrethroid insecticides are used in most household insecticides and some pet products and head-lice shampoos. The study followed a sample of 2,116 adults who took the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2002, representative of the U.S. population as a whole. The researchers noted levels of pyrethroid-associated chemicals in their urine and found death records to determine how many had died by 2015, as well as their cause of death.
While those with higher pyrethroid exposure were more likely to die overall, the highly exposed were three times more likely to suffer cardiovascular deaths than others as well. Bao said in an Iowa Now feature that the study does not prove that the insecticides are the cause of death, only that death and exposure are correlated.