Prenatal pesticide exposure tied to lower IQ in children

By Sarah Yang, Media Relations | April 20, 2011

BERKELEY —
In a new study suggesting pesticides may be associated with the health and development of children, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health have found that prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides – widely used on food crops – is related to lower intelligence scores at age 7.

The researchers found that every tenfold increase in measures of organophosphates detected during a mother’s pregnancy corresponded to a 5.5 point drop in overall IQ scores in the 7-year-olds. Children in the study with the highest levels of prenatal pesticide exposure scored seven points lower on a standardized measure of intelligence compared with children who had the lowest levels of exposure.