Health brief: Pesticides, neurodevelopment and testosterone

Three recent studies show how significantly common pesticide residues and other chemicals in the environment can affect our health from infancy all the way to old age.

The first study recorded the level of common pesticides in umbilical cord blood and then tracked the children born of those pregnancies until age 7. It found a direct correlation between developmental problems and the level of prenatal pesticide exposure (doi:10.1289/ehp.1003160).

A second study also measured cord blood looking for markers of exposure to exhaust fumes and it, too, found a direct correlation between exposure and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and attention problems in children (PAH/Aromatic DNA adducts in Cord Blood and Behavior Scores in New York City Children, Environmental Health Perspectives, 4/21/11).

In a separate study, British researchers found that 30 out of 37 pesticides they tested, all of which are in common use, block male hormones.

Of greatest concern of course is the health of infants and children. The rates of abnormal genitals in baby boys, such as cryptochidism and hypospadias, have risen dramatically. At the same time young adults and aging men are also vulnerable, as male fertility is declining, rates of testicular cancer have been rising and men over forty are experiencing unprecedented performance declines

Meanwhile our own US Department of Agriculture is reporting that on routine testing, imported cilantro was found to carry residues from 34 unapproved pesticides. See

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