A new study from Columbia University targets on eof the dangers of piperonyl butoxide (PBO). Te study found that children exposed in the womb to pesticide additive piperonyl butoxide (PBO) have greater risk of noninfectious cough at ages 5 and 6.
Pyrethroids are widely used and the most common pesticides for both professional and residential pest control.
Increase in Cough from Prenatal Exposure
Researchers found that children exposed to PBO during pregnancy had increased odds of reporting cough unrelated to cold or flu. Exposures to PBO during childhood were not a factor. There was no observed association between prenatal or childhood permethrin exposure and cough, something the researchers say may be explained by the fact that PBO is much easier to measure in air samples than permethrin. There was also no association with PBO or permethrin exposure and other respiratory outcomes like wheeze or asthma. While it is unclear whether the effect is due mainly to PBO itself or residential pyrethroids of which PBO is an indicator, it is important to remember, says Dr. Miller, that “these exposures may be a factor in a very common problem for children—cough.”