Exploratory Analysis of the Association Between Pyrethroid Exposure and Rheumatoid Arthritis Among US Adults: 2007-2014 Data Analysis From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

Document Type


Publication Title

Environmental Science and Pollution Research International


Previous studies indicate that pesticide use may play an important role in the occurrence and development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA); however, little is known about the effect of specific pesticides on RA. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether pyrethroid exposure was linked to RA in adults. Data were originated from the 2007-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The levels of pyrethroid exposure were assessed by 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3-PBA) concentrations in urine samples. We built multivariate logistic regression models to assess associations between pyrethroid exposure and RA among US adults. A restricted cubic spline plot (three knots) was applied to test whether there was a nonlinear relationship between exposure to pyrethroid pesticides and the prevalence of RA. Finally, 4384 subjects were included in our analysis with 278 RA patients. In crude model, higher level of 3-PBA (creatinine-adjusted) was positively associated with RA (OR: 1.51, 95% CI: 1.07, 2.15). After adjustment for sex, race/ethnicity, education, body mass index, family poverty income, level of education, marital status, smoking status, alcohol usage, physical activity, hypertension, and urinary creatinine, the highest (vs lowest) quartile of 3-PBA was associated with an increased prevalence of RA (OR: 1.23, 95% CI: 0.86, 1.79). Significantly positive associations between 3-PBA concentration and RA were observed in the population aged between 40 and 59 years and with lower level of education. The restricted cubic spline plot presented an increase in trend and indicated that pyrethroid exposure was linearly associated with occurrence of RA (p for nonlinearity = 0.728). In conclusion, our study indicated that pyrethroid pesticide exposure was associated with an increased risk of RA. Higher levels of pyrethroid exposure were linearly associated with increased prevalence of RA in adults. Certainly, our findings are in great need of further corroboration by prospective studies with strict design.



Publication Date



NHANES, Pyrethroid, Rheumatoid arthritis