Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health



First Committee Member

Edward Peters

Second Committee Member

Eleanor Rogan

Third Committee Member

Joseph Fauver


Neonicotinoids are a class of pesticides developed in the 1980s and widely used in agriculture and households. They are sources of health damage in mammals, as identified in experimental studies in rats. The health effects identified were acetamiprid: memory dysfunction, respiratory failure, and digestive troubles; imidacloprid: liver and brain cell necrosis through Nitric Oxide formation: Thiacloprid induces an increase of cytokine proinflammation and causes cell division disturbance and genotoxicity; thiamethoxam is incriminated in reproductive system toxicity and cardiotoxicity; clothianidin is found to be associated with fertility troubles affecting spermatozoids’ motility. They have been said to be associated with thyroid cancer as well. The source of exposure for humans to neonicotinoids is mainly through ingesting contaminated foods, and they are primarily eliminated via urine due to their hydrophilia. We conducted an analysis utilizing the 2015-2016 NHANES data to estimate covariate-adjusted associations between detectable neonicotinoids and socioeconomic and behavioral characteristics. Neonicotinoids were only quantified in a subset of the population within this cycle. Our analysis was restricted to participants aged 18 and older, with data on neonicotinoids, alcohol use, smoking, and pesticide use the week before urine collection. The sample size was 1510, with 52% females. The racial distribution was majority non-Hispanic Whites, 64.9%, and 21.4% were 65 years old or above. Neonicotinoids were detected in 46.8% of the cases. N-desmethyl-acetamiprid and 5-hydroxy-imidacloprid were the most detected, representing 68.3% and 21.7% of the total detection. The bivariate analysis showed an association between neonicotinoids detection and multiracial group OR = 1.49, 95%CI(1.01, 2.18). The final model, including socioeconomic variables, smoking, alcohol use, and pesticide use, showed the association between age 65 years and above, female gender, high school education, and neonicotinoid detection. OR were 1.86 (1.04, 3.32), 1.63 (1.11, 2.38), and 0.49 (0.26, 0.93), respectively. Fruit and vegetable consumption were the potential sources of exposure to neonicotinoids.

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