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Pesticide exposure in the womb: lower IQ?

Actu - Enfant et tomate dans ses mains

A new study from University California Berkeley links prenatal pesticide exposure with slight cognitive deficits in school-age children.

The researchers – including one from Ste-Justine Hospital in Montreal – found that children whose mothers had had the highest level of pesticide concentrations in their urine during pregnancy scored on average 7 points lower on IQ tests at age 7.

Which pesticide is to blame? Most likely chlorpyrifos, which is used against "mosquitoes, flies, various crop pests in soil and on foliage."

Some of the women who participated in the study had been in direct contact with pesticides, but most of the exposure came from food – a lower but more continuous level of exposure.

Chlorpyrifos is the same pesticide that was found in streams in the Chateaugay River basin – our province's most important agricultural production zone – in concentrations far exceeding allowable amounts, according to a report* published last December.

For years, Equiterre has promoted pesticide-free food with our family farmer program and, more recently, Soup's On!.

For more information on this study and two others like it.

*French only