Link between agricultural pesticides and autism revealed

Natural Health News – Pregnant women exposed to agricultural pesticides have a higher risk of 66% have a child with autism spectrum or other developmental delay disorder, a new study has revealed.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis MIND Institute found the associations were stronger when exposures occurred during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy women.

The large, multicenter California-based study examined relationships between specific classes of pesticides, including organophosphates, pyrethroids and carbamates, applied during pregnancy participants in the study and subsequent diagnoses of autism and developmental delay in their offspring. It is published online Environmental Health Perspectives .

Validation of previous research

“This study validates the results of previous research that reported the association between having a child with autism and prenatal exposure agricultural chemicals in California, “said lead study author Janie Shelton F., a graduate student at the University of California Davis, who now advises the United Nations.

“While we still have to investigate whether certain subgroups are more vulnerable to exposure to these compounds than others, the message is clear: Women who are pregnant should take special care to avoid contact with chemicals agricultural whenever possible. ”

California is the agricultural producing state in the nation, grossing $ 38 billion in revenue from agricultural crops in 2010. Statewide, approximately 200 million pounds of pesticides are applied each active year, most in the Central Valley, north of the Sacramento Valley and south to the Imperial Valley on the border between California and Mexico. #

Although pesticides are essential for the industry of modern agriculture, some commonly used pesticides are neurotoxic and may pose a threat to brain development during gestation, which could result in a delay of development or autism.

A wide range of pesticides

The study was conducted by examining the application of commercial pesticides using the California Pesticide Use Report and linking data to residential addresses of about 1,000 participants in the risk of childhood based in Northern California Autism Genetics and Environment Study (charge).

families with children between 2 and 5 with a diagnosis of autism or developmental delay or typical development are included. It is led by principal investigator Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a researcher and professor and vice chair MIND Institute Department of Public Health Sciences at UC Davis. Most study participants live in the Sacramento Valley, Central Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area more.

Twenty chemical compounds were identified in the organophosphate class, including chlorpyrifos, diazinon and acephate. The second most commonly applied class of pyrethroid pesticides, was a quarter of which was esfenvalerate, lambda-cyhalothrin followed by permethrin, cypermethrin and tau-fluvalinate. Eighty percent of carbamates methomyl and carbaryl were.

For the study, researchers used questionnaires to obtain residential addresses participants in the study during the pre-conception and pregnancy periods. The following addresses are covered in the maps with the locations of the sites of application of agricultural chemicals based on the reports of pesticide use to determine residential proximity. The study also examined the participants were exposed to agricultural chemicals.

= greater proximity increased risk

“We track where our study participants lived during pregnancy and at birth. In California, pesticide applicators should report what they are applying, where you will apply dates when applications are made and how much was applied, “Hertz-Picciotto said. “What we saw were several classes of pesticides most commonly applied near the homes of mothers whose children developed autism or had delayed cognitive or other skills.”

The researchers found that during the study period, approximately one third of the study participants lived in the vicinity LOAD – within 1.25 to 1.75 kilometers – from the application sites of commercial pesticides. Some associations were higher among mothers who live closer to the application sites and lower as residential proximity to the application site fell, researchers found.

Organophosphates applied during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum, particularly for applications of chlorpyrifos in the second quarter disorder.

Pyrethroids moderately associated with autism spectrum disorder immediately before conception and in the third quarter. Carbamates applied during pregnancy is associated with developmental delay.

fetal brain is more vulnerable

Exposure to insecticides for people living near agricultural areas can be problematic, especially during pregnancy, because the developing fetal brain may be more vulnerable than it is in adults. Because these pesticides are neurotoxic, intrauterine exposures during early development can distort the complex processes of structural development and neuronal signaling, causing alterations in the mechanisms of excitation and inhibition that regulate mood, learning, interactions and social behaviors.

“At the gestational period of early development, the brain is developing synapses, the spaces between neurons, where the electrical impulses became neurotransmitter chemicals that jump from one neuron to another along pass messages. the formation of these unions is really important and it may be that these pesticides are operating and affecting neurotransmission, “Hertz-Picciotto said.

LOAD Research Study has emphasized the importance of maternal nutrition during pregnancy, particularly the use of prenatal vitamins to reduce the risk of having a child with autism. While it is impossible to completely eliminate risks due to environmental exposure, Hertz-Picciotto said finding ways to reduce exposure to chemical pesticides, particularly for the younger ones, is important.

“We have to open a dialogue about how this can be done, both socially and individually,” he said. “If it were my family, I would not want to live near where heavy pesticides are applied.”

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