Association between exposure to organochlorine and pyrethroid pesticides and neurobehavioral outcomes among children under five years old in Offinso north district of Ashanti region, Ghana.

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Pesticide use for agricultural purposes in Ghana has increased over the years with its related health threats to farmers, people living around farming communities as well as the environment due to unsafe handling practices and application. This cross-sectional study conducted at three farming communities in Offinso North District of Ashanti Region, Ghana was aimed at assessing the association between exposure to organochlorine and pyrethroid pesticides and neurobehavioral outcomes defined as attention, rule-breaking, social behavior and aggressiveness. The target population was children under five years old. Questionnaire data on exposure practices and child behaviors as well as urine samples were taken for analyses, from 170 children whose parents were vegetable farmers. Majority of the children, 61.18% had contact with pesticide contaminated surfaces at home, 69.41% places thumbs/ fingers in the mouth and 84.29% places contaminated objects in the mouth. In the farm, 55.29% of the children had contact with pesticide contaminated surfaces, 61.76% places thumbs/ fingers in the mouth and 54.12% places contaminated objects in their mouths. There were also significant levels of pesticide residues of five organochlorines and one pyrethroid in their urines. The mean residual concentration of gamma-HCH found was 3.09μg/l (SD = 0.77μg/l); beta-HCH = 2.89μg/l (SD = 0.64μg/l); delta-HCH = 2.42μg/l (SD = 0.43μg/l); heptachlor = 3.55μg/l (SD = 0.90μg/l); lambda cyhalothrin = 3.11μg/l (SD = 0.69μg/l). There was no significant association found between urinary pesticide residues and neurobehavioral outcomes. However, there were significant inverse associations between exposure indicators at home, in the farm or both and Attention, Rule-Breaking, Social behavior and Aggressiveness with the association being strongest among children aged between 3 to 4 years.
A thesis submitted to the School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Master of Science Degree in Environment and Public Health.
Organochlorine, Pyrethroid, Neurobehavioral