Pesticide influence on IQ

Source: Living on Earth; Environmental Health Perspectives (1); Environmental Health Perspectives (2) 

A study found that two organophosphate pesticides used on foods can be transferred from mother to baby during pregnancy and can have a negative effect on the child’s IQ. The mothers’ exposure to the pesticides, a result from their job as agriculture workers, was measured and compared to the children’s IQ until they were 7 years old.

The difference in IQ between children of mothers with the highest and lowest exposure to the pesticides was 7 points. While the 7-point difference is not alarming on the individual level, the effect can be serious for the general population—children will need more special services and future generations will grow with continually lower IQs.

Organophosphates have been removed from home use in the early 2000s, but they have since been widely used in agriculture. Eating organic fruits and vegetables, or washing them prior to eating them, can help eliminate consumption of the pesticides.