Pesticide Toxicity and the Developing Brain

Authors


Author for correspondence: Brenda Eskenazi, Center for Children's Environmental Health Research, School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley, 2150 Shattuck Ave., Suite 600, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA (fax +1 510 642 9083, e-mail eskenazi@berkeley.edu).

Abstract

Abstract:  Organochlorine pesticides are used in some countries for malaria control and organophosphate pesticides are widely used in agriculture and in homes. Previous literature documents children's exposure to these chemicals both in utero and during development. Animal studies suggest that many of these chemicals are neurodevelopmental toxicants even in moderate doses, but there are few studies in human beings. Associations of children's pesticide exposure with neurodevelopment from studies being conducted worldwide are summarized. In addition, we present the work of the CHAMACOS study, a longitudinal birth cohort study of Mexican-American children living in the Salinas Valley of California. In this study, we investigated the relationship of children's neurodevelopment with maternal dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene serum levels, as well as prenatal and child organophosphate urinary metabolite levels. We have examined the association with children's performance on the Brazelton Neonatal Assessment Scales and at 6, 12 and 24 months on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (mental development and psychomotor development) and mothers report on the Child Behaviour Checklist. We observed a negative association of prenatal dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane exposure and child mental development. We also observed adverse associations of prenatal but not postnatal organophosphate pesticide exposure with mental development and pervasive developmental disorder at 24 months.

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