A Reason to Go Organic: Women Exposed to Pesticides Have Children With Lower IQs

Three studies published today—according to one co-author, the first to ever study the effects of low-level pesticide exposure on fetuses—have found that pregnant mothers who are exposed to pesticides give birth to children with IQs that are slightly lower than those of children who were not exposed to pesticides. This outcome was especially common among Latin American and African American women who participated in the studies. The Los Angeles Times has more details:

Pesticides on fruits and vegetables may be harmful to a developing fetus -- slightly. Children whose mothers were exposed to low doses of a specific class of pesticides may have a slightly lower IQ in later childhood, three new studies suggest.

The new research found children had a slightly lower IQ by age 7 if their mothers, mostly low-income and mostly Latina and black, had higher-than-average exposure in pregnancy to organophosphates, pesticides farmers still sometimes spray on fruits and vegetables. But some of the data are not as conclusive as they might seem at first glance.

All three studies, published Thursday in Environmental Health Perspectives, measured the presence of organophosphates in the mother's urine or blood during pregnancy. Women could have ingested the pesticides by way of food or breathing the air -- the pesticides were once common in households before the EPA banned their use in 2002, but in inner cities, these insecticides were still common in the mid-2000's to control insect infestations. In the three studies, the children took an IQ test around age 7 that measured working memory and reasoning abilities.

Read the full story at The Los Angeles Times.

Presented by

Daniel Fromson, a former associate editor at The Atlantic, is a writer based in Washington, D.C. He writes regularly for The Washington Post. His work has also appeared in Harper's Magazine, New York, and Slate.

Saving the Bees

Honeybees contribute more than $15 billion to the U.S. economy. A short documentary considers how desperate beekeepers are trying to keep their hives alive.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Health

Just In