Previous animal studies have reported that pyrethroids can cause dopamine system abnormalities and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) phenotypes. However, epidemiological studies investigating the associations between pyrethroid exposure and ADHD are limited. We aimed to investigate the association between pyrethroid exposure and ADHD-like symptoms among preschool-age children. We used data from 385 children at 4 years of age participating in the Environment and Development of Children (EDC) study. We evaluated pyrethroid exposure through questionnaires and urinary 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3-PBA) concentrations. We assessed ADHD-like symptoms using the Korean ADHD rating scale (K-ARS). We conducted negative binomial regressions to evaluate the associations between pyrethroid exposure and ADHD-like symptoms. Residential use of insecticide adhesive (β = 0.42, 95% CI: 0.11, 0.74) and insecticide spray (β = 0.33, 95% CI: 0.08, 0.59) was associated with an increase in log-transformed creatinine-adjusted urinary 3-PBA concentrations. Residential insecticide adhesive use was associated with a 51.6% increase in K-ARS scores (95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.3, 116.1) among boys, when compared with non-users. When compared with creatinine-adjusted 3-PBA levels <0.50 μg/g creatinine, creatinine-adjusted 3-PBA levels ≥3.80 μg/g creatinine were associated with a 58% increase in K-ARS scores (95% CI: 0.1, 150.5) among boys. We found associations of residential pyrethroid insecticide use and urinary 3-PBA concentrations with K-ARS scores among preschool-age boys. Since the present study explored cross-sectional associations in preschool-age children, the possibility of reverse causality cannot be dismissed. Further studies implementing a cohort study design are warranted.
- 3-phenoxybenzoic acid
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
- Preschool-age children
- Pyrethroid insecticide