Prenatal pesticide exposure lowers kids’ IQ

April 22nd, 2011 - 3:41 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, April 22 (ANI): A new study has found that prenatal exposure to common insecticide is associated with deficit in kids’ IQ and working memory at age 7.

Chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate pesticide, was one of the most widely used insecticides for residential pest control until banned for indoor residential use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2001.

However, it is still permitted for agricultural use.

Researchers from the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health carried out their study in a sample of 265 New York City minority children, born prior to the ban.

They found evidence that increases in the amount of chlorpyrifos in the babies’ umbilical cord blood were associated with decreases in performance on a measure of cognitive functioning at age 7.

Specifically, higher prenatal exposure was associated with lower scores on two different scales of the Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children (WISC-IV).

On average, for each standard deviation increase in chlorpyrifos exposure, the full-Scale IQ was reduced by 1.4 percent and Working Memory was reduced by 2.8 percent.

“These observed deficits in cognitive functioning at 7 years of age could have implications for school performance,” noted Virginia Rauh, lead author of the study.

“Working memory problems may interfere with reading comprehension, learning and academic achievement, even if general intelligence remains in the normal range,” he said.

The study was published in Environmental Health Perspectives. (ANI)

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