Maternal exposure to pesticides may harm girls more

Photo credit: Vladimir Pustovit Photo credit: Vladimir Pustovit

A recent study published in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology suggests that daughters of women exposed to pesticides early in their pregnancies may have impaired neurodevelopment. Women working in horticultural greenhouses in the early stages of pregnancy and their employers were interviewed to determine if they were exposed to pesticides at their job. Exposed women were then put on paid leave or moved to alternative positions where they would no longer be exposed for the remainder of their pregnancy. Pregnant women not exposed to pesticides were used as a control group. One hundred thirty-three children whose mothers were exposed to pesticides early on in their pregnancy participated in the study. When the children were between the ages of 6 and 11, they underwent neurological development testing. Pre-natal pesticide exposure was associated with delayed response to sound in all children. Additionally, girls exposed to pesticides before birth experienced impaired language function, motor speed and short-term memory.