Organophosphate pesticides act by disrupting neurotransmitters, particularly acetylcholine, which plays an important role in sustaining attention and short-term memory.
“Given that these compounds are designed to attack the nervous system of organisms, there is reason to be cautious, especially in situations where exposure may coincide with critical periods of fetal and child development,” said he study's lead author Amy Marks.
Earlier this year, a different study by researchers at Harvard University associated greater exposure to organophosphate pesticides in school aged children with higher rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms.
“These studies provide a growing body of evidence that organophosphate pesticide exposure can impact human neurodevelopment, particularly among children. We were especially interested in prenatal exposure because that is the period when a baby's nervous system is developing the most,” said Eskenazi.
More than 300 children were tested and the researchers were continuing to follow the children as they get older and expect to present more results in the years to come. The current findings were published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
Source: New York PostMore