WEDNESDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- Prenatal exposure to pesticides may lead to persistent adverse effects on brain development in children, according to research published online Feb. 25 in Environmental Health Perspectives.
Raul Harari, M.D., of the Corporación para el Desarrollo de la Producción y el Medio Ambiente Laboral in Quito, Ecuador, and colleagues analyzed data from 84 children aged 6 to 8 years in an Ecuadorean town where many women of reproductive age work for the flower industry. Maternal interviews revealed their history of pesticide exposure, and children were examined and tested for current pesticide exposure.
The researchers found that 35 children were exposed to pesticides from their mothers' occupational exposure during pregnancy. Children with prenatal exposure from their mothers' greenhouse work had deficits related to motor speed and coordination, visuospatial performance, and visual memory. These were associated with a developmental delay of 1.5 to two years. Prenatal exposure was also linked to higher systolic blood pressure (average increase, 3.6 mm Hg) and lower body mass index (decrease of 1.1 kg/m2).
"The present study suggests that the current level of protection may well be adequate to avoid pesticide toxicity in the worker herself, but insufficient to prevent lasting adverse effects in the offspring. Deficits associated with prenatal pesticide exposure may contribute to a 'silent pandemic' of developmental neurotoxicity, and this study therefore adds to the evidence suggesting a need for improved control of occupational exposures that may cause intrauterine neurotoxicity," the authors write.Blog Gadgets