Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2019 Aug;222(7):1021-1029. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2019.07.001. Epub 2019 Jul 13.
Disentangling the separate and synergistic effects of chemicals poses methodological challenges for accurate exposure assessment and for investigating epidemiologically how chemicals affect reproduction. We investigated combined exposures to ubiquitous contemporary use pesticides, specifically organophosphates (OP) and pyrethroids (PYR), and their association with germ cell abnormalities among adult men. Fluorescence in situ hybridization was used to determine disomy in sperm nuclei and urine was analyzed for concentrations of PYR metabolites (3-phenoxybenzoic acid; 3PBA) and OP dialkyl phosphate (DAP) metabolites. Incidence rate ratios using Poisson models were estimated for each disomy type by exposure quartile of DAP metabolites and 3PBA, controlling for confounders. The shape of the associations between PYRs, OPs and disomy were frequently nonmonotonic. There were consistent interactions between OP and PYR metabolite concentrations and the risk for sperm abnormalities. Taking both chemicals into account simultaneously resulted in quantitatively different associations than what was reported previously for OPs and PYRs separately, demonstrating the importance of modeling multiple concentrations simultaneously. Methods investigating interactions using Poisson models are needed to better quantify chemical interactions and their effects on count-based health outcomes, the importance of which was shown here for germ cell abnormalities.