Environmental Health Perspectives Reports
Strength in Numbers: Three Separate Studies Link in Utero Organophosphate Pesticide Exposure and Cognitive Development
Kimberly Gray, Cindy P. Lawler
(INTRO TO ARTICLE) Children entering classrooms for the first time this fall can be seen carrying backpacks filled with school supplies, yet each new student brings something less obvious but more important—a legacy of their earlier experiences and environment.
Three studies published in this issue of Environmental Health Perspectives (Bouchard et al. 2011; Engel et al. 2011; Rauh et al. 2011) deliver compelling new data linking one aspect of a child’s history—in utero exposure to organophosphates (OP), a commonly used class of pesticides—and early cognitive development. Working memory, perceptual reasoning, and IQ were among the measures of intellectual development associated with prenatal OP exposure.
Bouchard et al. (2011) found that children in the category corresponding to the highest 20% of maternal urinary levels of OP metabolites during pregnancy showed a 7-point decrease in full scale IQ compared with children of mothers in the lowest 20%, an association of magnitude similar to that observed with an increase in blood lead concentrations from 1 to 10 µg/dL (Canfield et al. 2003).
THE 3 STUDIES
Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphates, Paraoxonase 1, and Cognitive Development in Childhood
Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticides and IQ in 7-Year-Old Children
Seven-Year Neurodevelopmental Scores and Prenatal Exposure to Chlorpyrifos, a Common Agricultural Pesticide