Everyone knows that pesticides can be harmful—but three new studies say it may take only tiny amounts to lower IQ
A worker sprays a grove of Florida grapefruit. Joe Skipper/Reuters
The Environmental Working Group announces the publication of three studies finding a correlation between diminished IQ and levels of pesticides in the blood.
The studies were done separately by groups of researchers from the Mt Sinai School of Medicine, University of California-Berkeley's School of Public Health, and Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. All were published in Environmental Health Perspectives and are available at that site (although sometimes with a delay and you have to look hard for the PDF of the whole article).
All three studies examined levels of organopesticides in the blood of pregnant women. All looked at one or more measures of IQ taken when the children were one to nine years old.
The Berkeley study, Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticides and IQ in 7-Year Old Children, examined Latino farm workers and their children. Researchers found a difference of seven IQ points between children with the highest and lowest levels of organopesticides.
The Mt. Sinai study, Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphates, Paraoxonase 1, and Cognitive Development in Childhood, was done with a prenatal population in New York City.