Numerous studies have clearly outlined the health and environmental dangers that are associated with pesticides, more specifically, agricultural pesticides. They’ve been linked to cancer, birth defects, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, kidney failure and many more.
It’s remarkable how we continue to spray these all over our food. In the past decade alone, scientists from all over the world have conducted studies that now link them with autism. Keep in mind, autism is a very large spectrum, some of it may be evolution, and in many other cases, neurodevelopment is largely hampered due to the factors mentioned in this article (and more). Here is one of the (out of what could be many) reasons why:
Pesticides Increase Risk By 2/3
A study coming out of the University of California, Davis, determined that pregnant women who live in close proximity to land and farms where chemical pesticides are/were applied experience a two-thirds increased risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder or some other developmental disorder.
The study examined associations between pesticides, including organophosphates (a main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide) that were applied during the participants’ pregnancies and a later diagnosis of autism or developmental delay in their children.
The study was published this summer, online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.(1) It concluded that proximity to organophosphates alone at some point during gestation was associated with a 60% increased risk for ASD.
“This study validates the results of earlier research that had reported associations between having a child with autism and prenatal exposure to agricultural chemicals in California. While we still must investigate whether certain sub-groups are more vulnerable to exposures to these compounds than others, the message is very clear: Women who are pregnant should take special care to avoid contact with agricultural chemicals whenever possible.” – Janie F. Shelton, a UC Davis graduate student who now consults with the United Nations, lead author of the study.
The study examined commercial pesticide use in California, and used data from the California Pesticide Use report alongside data from the residential addresses of approximately 1000 participants in the Northern California area that participated in the Childhood Risk of Autism from Genetics and the Environment study (CHARGE)
“CHARGE (Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment) was launched in 2003 as the first comprehensive study of environmental causes and risk factors for autism and developmental delay. The CHARGE study recognizes that no single factor accounts for all autism cases, nor is there one event or exposure that can be responsible for the rapid increase in diagnoses over the last few decades. Instead, each child’s path to altered brain development may be different.” (source)
I think the above explanation for autism is great. I do agree that there is not one single event that is responsible, I think it includes a number of factors that allow toxins to enter into the body from fetal development and early childhood, and there is a lot of evidence which suggests this.
“Organophosphates applied over the course of pregnancy were associated with an elevated risk of autism spectrum disorder, particularly for chlorpyrifos applications in the second trimester. Pyrethroids were moderately associated with autism spectrum disorder immediately prior to conception and in the third trimester. Carbamates applied during pregnancy were associated with developmental delay. Exposures to insecticides for those living near agricultural areas may be problematic, especially during gestation, because the developing fetal brain may be more vulnerable than it is in adults. Because these pesticides are neurotoxic, in utero exposures during early development may distort the complex processes of structural development and neuronal signaling producing alterations to the excitation and inhibition mechanisms that govern mood, learning, social interactions and behaviour.”(1)
Related CE Article: New Study Finds Organic Diet Drops Pesticide Levels In Adults By 90 Percent
More Studies Regarding Autism and Toxins
A new study published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology, from researchers at the University of Chicago revealed that autism and intellectual disability (ID) rates are linked with exposure to harmful environmental factors during congenital development. (2)
The team analyzed data that covered more than one third of the U.S. population. Data from individual states and more than 2,100 counties were used. Fetuses, particularly males, are sensitive to multiple toxins such as environmental lead, medications and a wide variety of other synthetic molecules, like pesticides, mercury and more. Exposure to these toxins during critical stages of development is thought to explain a large portion of congenital reproductive malformations.
Our environment is full of neurodevelopmental toxins, which means they alter how the brain grows. Mercury, polychlorinated diphenyl, lead, brominated flame retardants and pesticides are a few of many examples. Don’t forget about insecticides and herbicides.
Another recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine compared brain autopsies of autistic children who had died from unrelated causes to those of normal ones. The autistic brains demonstrated abnormal patches of disorganized neurons that disrupted the usual distinct layers in the brain’s cortex. The study suggests that abnormalities occurred in utero during key developmental stages between 19 to 30 weeks gestation. It’s not just the toxin, it’s the timing of the exposure. (3)
Another study outlines how glyphosate toxicity leads to the suppression of critical enzymes, and as a result links the Western diet to heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism and more. (4)
In another case, a group of scientists put together a comprehensive review of existing data that shows how European regulators have known that Monsanto’s glyphosate causes a number of birth malformations since at least 2002. Regulators misled the public about glyphosate’s safety, and in Germany the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety told the European Commission that there was no evidence to suggest that glyphosate causes birth defects (5)
A new study published in the journal Biomedical Research International shows that Roundup herbicide is 125 times more toxic than its active ingredient glyphosate studied in isolation.(16)
There is more research confirming that mothers who are exposed to commonly used, “safe” pesticides give birth to children with lower intelligence, structural brain abnormalities, behavioral disorders, compromised motor skills, higher rates of brain cancer and small head size. (6)(7)(8)(9)(10)(11)(12)(13)(14)(15)
The list goes on and on, for more information on toxins and the role they play in autism, you can click HERE.
6.Rauh V, Arunajadai S, Horton M, Perera F, Hoepner L, Barr DB, et al. 2011. Seven-Year Neurodevelopmental Scores and Prenatal Exposure to Chlorpyrifos, a Common Agricultural Pesticide. Environ Health Perspect 119:1196-1201.
7. Bouchard M, Chevrier J, Harley K, Kogut K, Vedar M, Calderon N, Trujillo C, Johnson C, Bradman A, Barr D, Eskenazi B. Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticides and IQ in 7-Year Old Children. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2011; DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1003185
8. Engel S, et al. Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphates, Paraoxonase 1, and Cognitive Development in Childhood. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2011; DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1003183
9. Horton M, et al. Impact of Prenatal Exposure to Piperonyl Butoxide and Permethrin on 36-Month Neurodevelopment. Pediatrics 2011; 127:3 e699-e706; doi:10.1542/peds.2010-0133
10. Horton M, Kahn L, Perera F, Barr D, Rauh V. Does the home environment and the sex of the child modify the adverse effects of prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos on child working memory? Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.ntt.2012.07.004
11. Rauh V, et al. Brain anomalies in children exposed prenatally to a common organophosphate pesticide. PNAS 2012 109 (20) 7871-7876; published ahead of print April 30, 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1203396109
12.Oulhote Y, Bouchard M, Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate and Pyrethroid Pesticides and Behavioral Problems in Canadian Children Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1306667
13.. Ostrea EM, et al. 2011. Fetal exposure to propoxur and abnormal child neurodevelopment at two years of age. Neurotoxicology.
14. Greenop K, Peters S, Bailey H, et al. Exposure to pesticides and the risk of childhood brain tumors. Cancer Causes & Control. April 2013
15. Kimura-Kuroda J, Komuta Y, Kuroda Y, Hayashi M, Kawano H (2012) Nicotine-Like Effects of the Neonicotinoid Insecticides Acetamiprid and Imidacloprid on Cerebellar Neurons from Neonatal Rats. PLoS ONE 7(2): e32432. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.003243