A new study shows that more than half of all women exposed to pesticide chemicals show an increased risk of autism in their unborn children. It looks like the importance for mothers to avoid pesticides which biotech loves to hawk like a peddler in a seedy market has just grown.
Chemicals known as organophosphates are to blame, specifically, in a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives. Researchers found that women exposed to these pesticides during gestation of their infants were subject to a 60% increased risk for autism-like disorders (ASD), higher for third-trimester exposures (OR = 2.0; 95% CI: 1.1, 3.6), and second-trimester chlorpyrifos applications (OR = 3.3; 95% CI: 1.5, 7.4).
What’s more, if a mom is exposed to these chemicals just before conception – her child is still at risk!
The researchers studied mothers who lived within a mile of an agricultural pesticide application, and with the rampant spraying going on all over the US, you can imagine how many women have been exposed to chemicals which can cause harm to their children.
The study concludes:
“Conclusions: This study of ASD strengthens the evidence linking neurodevelopmental disorders with gestational pesticide exposures, particularly organophosphates, and provides novel results of ASD and DD associations with, respectively, pyrethroids and carbamates.”
These chemicals work by paralyzing muscles in insects, and they can harm humans in multiple ways as well. As exemplified in this summation by PBS, here is what organophosphates are all about:
- “Known Health Effects: Neurotoxic. Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, dizziness, eye pain, blurred vision, confusion, numbness, twitching, paralysis, death.
- Suspected Health Effects: Brain, nervous system damage. Endocrine disrupter. Liver, respiratory system toxicant. Birth defects, childhood brain tumors, leukemia and lymphomas.”
- Add to this list: Autism.
This study strengthens the existing evidence linking neurodevelopmental disorders with gestational pesticide exposures, particularly organophosphates, and provides alarming results associated with, respectively, pyrethroids and carbamates (types of organophosphates.)
Other research from the University of Chicago has also revealed without a doubt that autism and intellectual disability (ID) are linked to toxin exposure while a baby is still being formed in the mother’s womb.
Andrey Rzhetsky, professor of genetic medicine and human genetics at the University of Chicago, says:
“Essentially what happens is during pregnancy… there are certain sensitive periods where the fetus is very vulnerable to a range of small molecules – from things like plasticisers, prescription drugs, environmental pesticides and other things. Some of these small molecules essentially alter normal development.
Autism appears to be strongly correlated with rate of congenital malformations of the genitals in males across the country, this gives an indicator of environmental load and the effect is surprisingly strong. The strongest predictors for autism were associated with the environment; congenital malformations on the reproductive system in males.”
In a world where autistic children have become the norm, rather than the exception, (and mainstream media states the reasons are a mystery) the time for eradicating these chemicals from our agricultural paradigm is long overdue.
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.