Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Charles F. Ide

Second Advisor

Dr. Magdelena Niewiadomska-Bugaj

Third Advisor

Dr. Susan Stapleton

Fourth Advisor

Dr. John Spitsbergen


Organophosphate (OP) pesticides have become the most widely used insecticides since the removal of organochlorine pesticides (“Ch4 Organophosphate Insecticides.pdf,” n.d.) and are generally the most toxic of all pesticides to vertebrates (Soltaninejad & Abdollahi, 2009). As a result, ongoing research has been aimed at further understanding potential health effects from exposure.

The aim of this dissertation research project is to investigate and characterize correlations of OP body burden with human health effects. This research involves an investigation into three pertinent areas concerning OP exposure: thyroid disruption, altered hematology biomarkers, and alterations of glucose homeostasis. Data under investigation come exclusively from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) as conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

This included the following correlative investigations: 1. Endocrine disruption through analysis of a thyroid blood panel. The hypothesis underlying this investigation is that thyroid hormones will be decreased with increasing OP body burden, indicating endocrine disruption. 2. Hematology assessment through blood panel biomarkers. The hypothesis underlying this investigation is that blood biomarkers of immune functioning, importantly WBC count, will be significantly decreased with increasing OP body burden concentration. 3. Glucose homeostasis through blood panel measures. The hypothesis underlying this investigation is that blood glucose levels will be significantly increased with increasing OP body burden concentration.

Significant inverse associations were observed for free and total T3 levels, leading us to postulate that higher OP concentration may be related to endocrine disruption, and specifically may be associated with hypothyroidism. We observed significant inverse relationships for many hematology biomarkers, suggesting potential effects such as lowered immune competence and anemia. We found significantly decreased glucose levels, suggesting the potential for hypoglycemia. This research study presents important findings correlating OP metabolite body burden levels in a large human population with endocrine disruption, immunomodulation, and metabolic disturbance.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Campus Only

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