Pesticide Exposure During Pregnancy Linked to Autism


Many things you come in contact with while you are pregnant could cause issues with your baby. Most of the time, these are items like alcohol or cigarettes. Sometimes the foods you eat and the things you drink could be an issue. Now research is saying that certain pesticides could be linked to autism when women are exposed to them while they are pregnant.

The Study

For years, the state of California has had a law in place requiring commercial pesticide spraying be recorded. This allowed epidemiology professor at the University of California, Irva Hertz-Picciotto to conduct a study on pregnant women who are exposed to these pesticides.

Davis found that about a third of women lived within a mile of areas where pesticides were sprayed during their pregnancy. The study found that women who were exposed to pesticides containing organophosphate were about 60% more likely to have a child with autism. When they were exposed to normal, household pesticides, their chances of having a baby with autism nearly doubled.

Unfortunately, there is a downside to this study. Since doctors looked backwards in time, they were not able to receive any types of blood or urine samples from the mothers or the babies. This leaves the study rather limited on the information it was able to gather.

What is Organophosphate?

This ingredient is one of the most commonly used bases of pesticides and insecticides. They are toxic and have a huge effect on the creatures they come in contact with. This is one reason they are such a popular addition to insecticides. However, in most home pesticides, this element is no longer used. But, this is not the case in commercial versions of insecticides.

When humans are exposed to organophosphate, they could experience issues with defecation, vomiting, gastrointestinal issues and many other problems. Avoiding these pesticides as much as possible when you are pregnant is the best option.

Why are they So Troubling?

One reason pesticides of this nature are so troubling is because they tend to affect the nerves. When babies are developing, their nerves are extremely vulnerable. Being exposed to these elements could make it easier to develop conditions like autism for this reason.

It is important to keep in mind that additional studies are needed before scientists can say that pesticides are the most contributing factor in the link to autism. It is possible that women who have children with autism also have other factors in play.

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