Earlier human health surveys, cytogenic and molecular biologic studies by the investigators suggested that offspring of pesticide appliers might have excess reproductive risk expressed as birth anomalies and/or reduced fertility. To begin to evaluate this hypothesis, 4,935 births to 34,772 state licensed private pesticide appliers in Minnesota occurring between 1989 and 1992 were linked to the Minnesota state birth registry containing 210,723 live births in this time frame. Significant increases were found in all birth anomalies, and in specific categories of birth anomalies. Examination of pesticide use showed that the greatest increase occurred in the region of the state with highest use of chlorophenoxy herbicides/fungicides. The region is a well defined area of the Red River Valley. The male/female sex ratio of anomalies was significantly increased in appliers residing in the region. In the five counties with the highest chlorophenoxy herbicide/fungicide use, the number of births to appliers was significantly reduced. The present study is designed to address in detail the issues of reduced fertility and birth anomalies in three of the five counties with the highest chlorophenoxy herbicide/fungicide use. To achieve this goal, an integrated survey and laboratory based investigation focused on fertility is proposed. The survey will include 2,333 appliers and their spouses. These data will characterize individual and regional pesticide use, and provide preliminary information on fertility. Laboratory studies will focus on male mediated cases of infertility and birth anomalies. Endocrine disruption, spermatotoxicity, sperm and somatic cell aneuploidy, frequency of chromosome constitutional abnormalities and chromosomal hot spots associated with pesticide exposure will be examined. Preliminary laboratory data are consistent and suggest that endocrine disruption and chromosomal effects in the male appliers may be important factors in the apparent decrease in fertility.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG4-SOH (01))
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Garry, Vincent F (2004) Pesticides and children. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 198:152-63
Garry, Vincent F; Harkins, Mary E; Erickson, Leanna L et al. (2002) Birth defects, season of conception, and sex of children born to pesticide applicators living in the Red River Valley of Minnesota, USA. Environ Health Perspect 110 Suppl 3:441-9
Garry, V F; Tarone, R E; Kirsch, I R et al. (2001) Biomarker correlations of urinary 2,4-D levels in foresters: genomic instability and endocrine disruption. Environ Health Perspect 109:495-500
Morrison, J; Garry, V; Harkins, M E et al. (2000) Regional differences in cardiovascular mortality in Minnesota. Minn Med 83:41-6
Lyubimov, A V; Garry, V F; Carlson, R E et al. (2000) Simplified urinary immunoassay for 2,4-D: validation and exposure assessment. J Lab Clin Med 136:116-24
Lin, N; Garry, V F (2000) In vitro studies of cellular and molecular developmental toxicity of adjuvants, herbicides, and fungicides commonly used in Red River Valley, Minnesota. J Toxicol Environ Health A 60:423-39
Garry, V F; Burroughs, B; Tarone, R et al. (1999) Herbicides and adjuvants: an evolving view. Toxicol Ind Health 15:159-67