According to a new study conducted by the University of California-Davis, pregnant women living within a mile of fields sprayed by common pesticides have approximately a 60 percent increased chance of birthing an autistic child. This study further illustrates the expanse of dangerous chemicals that are potentially harming the population.
The study took a sample of 970 children born in Northern California farmlands, making this study the largest of its kind and the third to link prenatal pesticide exposure to autism. A previous study in 2007 linked two pesticides, endosulfan and dicofol, with a sixfold increase in developing autism. Those two pesticides have since been banned.
Kim Harley, environmental health researcher at UC Berkeley, said that “the weight of evidence is beginning to suggest that mothers’ exposures during pregnancy may play a role in the development of autism spectrum disorders.”
Three pesticides were examined in the study: organophosphates, pyrethroids, and carbamates, and all three were linked to embryonic development issues. Organophosphates were responsible for causing the 60 percent increased chance of children developing autism. However, it was pyrethroids that posed the most dangerous risk.
Pyrethroid exposure just prior to conception caused an 82 percent increased risk and an 87 percent increased risk during the third trimester. Carbamates were not linked to autism, but exposure did pose risk to developmental delays.
“We need to understand how multiple exposures interact with each other and with genetics to understand all that is involved in the causes of autism,” said Alycia Halladay, senior director for environmental and clinical sciences at Autism Speaks. “Use of pesticides has gone up, so has autism. But air quality has also improved, and we know that air pollution plays roles in autism spectrum disorder risk.”
From fracking to oil spills to pesticides, companies and industries are pumping massive amounts of chemical into the environmental, which usually adversely affect the health of our citizens. Do the companies care? No. They are only concerned with profits.