top of page

Pesticides, Fruits, Vegetables, and Fertility

"Key Points


Is there an association between exposure to pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables and pregnancy outcomes?


In a cohort of 325 women undergoing infertility treatment with assisted reproductive technology, intake of high–pesticide residue fruits and vegetables was associated with a lower probability of live birth, while low–pesticide residue fruit and vegetable intake was not associated with this outcome.


Dietary pesticide exposure within the range of typical human exposure may be associated with adverse reproductive consequences."

"More than 90% of the US population has detectable concentrations of pesticides or their metabolites in their urine or blood samples.1 While pesticide exposure occurs through a variety of routes, the primary route in the general population is through diet–especially intake of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables (FVs).2-7 In the United States, pesticides are regulated and evaluated by the US Environmental Protection Agency to ensure the safety of the food supply for human consumption. Nonetheless, there has been a growing concern that permitted levels of pesticide residues in food defined by traditional toxicological testing may be too high, especially for susceptible populations such as pregnant women or infants.8,9"

From the lead investigator: "“I was always skeptical that pesticide residues in foods would have any impact on health whatsoever,” says Chavarro. “So when we started doing this work a couple of years ago, I thought we were not going to find anything. I was surprised to see anything as far as health outcomes are concerned.”"

"Most Americans are exposed to pesticides daily by consuming conventionally grown fruits and vegetables," said Dr. Yu-Han Chiu, a research fellow in the department of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and first author of the study.

"There have been concerns for some time that exposure to low doses of pesticides through diet, such as those that we observed in this study, may have adverse health effects, especially in susceptible populations such as pregnant women and their fetus, and on children," she said. "Our study provides evidence that this concern is not unwarranted."

Follow Us
  • Facebook Classic
  • Twitter Classic
  • Google Classic
bottom of page