||The Borgou region of northern Benin is a major cotton producing area and consistently uses higher amounts of
pesticides than other areas of the country. Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), poorly handled, have been widely
used and are still illegally present. Wetherefore hypothesized that serumOCP levels would be high in Borgou. As
part of a case–control study on diabetes status and pesticide exposure, we measured the distribution of serum
concentrations of 14 OCPs by gas chromatography with mass spectrometry. A sample of 118 diabetic subjects
was selected using a four-stage cluster sampling with 54.2% of men and 45.8% of women; 43% lived in urban
areas, 14.4% were obese and 39.8% had high economic status. The four detected OCPs were p,p"-DDT, p,p"-DDE,
!-HCH and trans-nonachlor with respective geometric means (geometric standard deviation) of 497.1 (4.5),
20.6 (7.9), 2.9 (3.4), and 2.0 (2.3) ng/g of total serumlipids. OCP levelswere significantly higher in obese,wealthier
andmore educated subjects and in those living in urban areas as compared to the other groups, particularly for
p,p"-DDE, p,p"-DDT and !-HCH. Levels ofDDT and DDEwere higher than reported in other countrieswhere DDT is
no longer permitted. The lowDDT/DDE ratio of 0.05 suggests past human exposure through food contamination.
There is thus a need to reinforce governmental regulations for a more responsible use of pesticides in the country,
in order to reduce health risks associated with persistent organic pollutants.