ypothesis was that if pesticides do alter the friendly environment of the developing fetus than that might be reflected in lower scores. And unfortunately that's what we found, Winchester was quoted.
According to the scientists, the fetal brain begins developing soon after conception. The pesticides used to control pests in fields and homes and the nitrates used to fertilize crops and even lawns are at their highest level in the summer.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, even household gardening pesticides are well-known to put pregnant women at high risk for many birth defects, including oral clefts, neural tube defects, heart defects, and limb defects.
While domestic pesticides are the fastest growing segment of the pesticide industry, a correlation exists between all pesticide exposure and birth defects.
"We actually found that every single birth defect category had a greater risk between April and July," Winchester said. "It suggests that with seasonal factors, something is conferring increased risk."
And it is not just risk for birth defects; according to Winchester, the number two cause of infant mortality in the U.S.- premature birth, also peaks along with pesticide use.
The evidence in this latest study shows that the trend in pesticide exposure, especially pesticides found in drinking water, is related to trends in test scores many years down the road.
"We have now linked higher pesticide and nitrate exposure in surface water with lower cognitive scores," Winchester was quoted. "Neurodevelopmental consequences of exposure to pesticides and nitrates may not be obvious for many decades."
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