Ovarian toxicity caused by pesticides

Wei Wang, Patrick Hannon, Jodi A. Flaws

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Based on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denition, a pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest or intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant, or desiccant. Pests can be insects, a variety of animals, unwanted plants (weeds), fungi, or microorganisms like bacteria and viruses. Though the term of pesticide is often misunderstood to refer only to insecticides, it also applies to herbicides, fungicides, and various other substances used to control pests. Pesticides have been widely used to prevent crop losses and control disease spread via insects and other pests (Bretveld et al., 2006). Because of the widespread use of pesticides, humans and wildlife are chronically exposed to low levels of pesticide residues through their diet. Furthermore, some pesticides are hard to biodegrade and thus, they readily accumulate in the food chain and environment (Tiemann, 2008). Because pesticides are nonspecic in both the species and the tissues they target, some pesticides that are intended to attack pest nervous systems are also ovarian toxicants in humans and wildlife. For example, the organochlorine pesticide methoxychlor (MXC), a neurotoxicant, has been found to adversely affect various ovarian functions (Gaido et al., 2000; Waters et al., 2001; Zachow and Uzumcu, 2006; Craig et al., 2010; Basavarajappa et al., 2011). Often, pesticide-induced ovarian toxicity can lead to adverse reproductive outcomes. In recent epidemiological studies, exposure to pesticides has been associated with various reproductive dysfunctions in women, such as irregular menstruation, reduced fertility, prolonged time-to-pregnancy, and spontaneous abortion (Smith et al., 1997; Farr et al., 2004; Hanke and Jurewicz, 2004; Idrovo et al., 2005).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOvarian Toxicology, Second Edition
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9781466504073
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (all)


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