Pesticide Exposure in Womb May Lower IQ

Three studies suggest a link to kids' intelligence
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2011 1:58 PM CDT
Pesticide Exposure in the Womb Linked to Lower IQs in Children
A 2001 file photo of a crop duster on duty in California.   (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian, file)

(Newser) – Three new studies suggest that pregnant women exposed to pesticides have kids with lower average IQs, reports USA Today. But let's not be too alarmist about applying these findings, cautions the Los Angeles Times. Along those lines, one of the study's lead authors offers this takeaway message for pregnant women: Don't stop eating fruits and veggies, but make sure you wash them or buy organic.

The studies, released in Environmental Health Perspectives, began in the late 1990s and screened the blood and urine of pregnant women for organophosphate pesticides. The chemicals are used on crops and used to be common in households before the EPA banned their use in 2002. Researchers followed 400 kids from birth through ages 6 to 9 for the studies. The most eye-popping result showed a 7-point IQ difference among kids born to Mexican immigrants in Salinas, Calif., but the LAT notes that socio-economic factors could have played a role. (Read more pesticide stories.)

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