Pesticide Exposure Tied to Lower IQ in Children

Prenatal pesticide exposure found to impair cognitive development in children

THURSDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Pesticide exposure appears to be associated with poorer IQ scores in children and may impair cognitive development, according to three studies published online April 21 in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Virginia Rauh, Sc.D., M.S.W., of Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues estimated the relationship between prenatal chlorpyrifos (CPF) exposure and neurodevelopment among 265 children, aged 7 years. The investigators found that increased CPF exposure was associated with decreases in cognitive functioning on two different indices: Working Memory Index and Full-Scale IQ.

In another study, Stephanie M. Engel, Ph.D., of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues enrolled a multi-ethnic population of more than 400 pregnant women. Third trimester maternal urines were collected and analyzed for organophosphate metabolites. Children underwent neurodevelopment assessments at 12 months, 24 months, and 6 to 9 years. The investigators found that prenatal exposure to organophosphates negatively impacted cognitive development, which started at 12 months and continued through early childhood. In a third study, Maryse F. Bouchard, Ph.D., of the University of California at Berkeley, and colleagues also found that prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides was associated with worse intellectual development at 7 years of age.

"These findings are likely applicable to the general population," Bouchard said in a statement. "In addition, the other two studies being published were done in New York City, so the connection between pesticide exposure and IQ is not limited to people living in an agricultural community."

Abstract - Rauh
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Abstract - Engel
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Abstract - Bouchard
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