Autism spectrum disorder, flea and tick medication, and adjustments for exposure misclassification: The CHARGE (CHildhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment) case-control study

Alexander P. Keil, Julie L. Daniels, Irva Hertz-Picciotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The environmental contribution to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is largely unknown, but household pesticides are receiving increased attention. We examined associations between ASD and maternally-reported use of imidacloprid, a common flea and tick treatment for pets. Methods. Bayesian logistic models were used to estimate the association between ASD and imidacloprid and to correct for potential differential exposure misclassification due to recall in a case control study of ASD. Results: Our analytic dataset included complete information for 262 typically developing controls and 407 children with ASD. Compared with exposure among controls, the odds of prenatal imidacloprid exposure among children with ASD were slightly higher, with an odds ratio (OR) of 1.3 (95% Credible Interval [CrI] 0.78, 2.2). A susceptibility window analysis yielded higher ORs for exposures during pregnancy than for early life exposures, whereas limiting to frequent users of imidacloprid, the OR increased to 2.0 (95% CI 1.0, 3.9). Conclusions: Within plausible estimates of sensitivity and specificity, the association could result from exposure misclassification alone. The association between imidacloprid exposure and ASD warrants further investigation, and this work highlights the need for validation studies regarding prenatal exposures in ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3
JournalEnvironmental Health: A Global Access Science Source
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 23 2014

Keywords

  • Autism
  • Bayesian
  • Imidacloprid
  • Measurement error
  • Neonicotinoids
  • Pesticides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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