Ouch! This story hurts.
A study of more than 1.6 million children clearly showed that those conceived in the summer – when pesticide use is at its highest – are less clever.
Spring babies may fare less well at school because they receive the most exposure to pesticides during the first few months of pregnancy – a critical time for brain development.
Dr. Paul Winchester, involved in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine for more than 30 years and professor of clinical paediatrics of Indiana University School of Medicine, said:
“The foetal brain begins developing soon after conception.
“The pesticides we use to control pests in fields and our homes and the nitrates we use to fertilise our crops and even our lawns are at their highest level in summer.
“Exposure to pesticides and nitrates can alter the hormonal milieu of the pregnant mother and the developing foetal brain.”
“Neurodevelopmental consequences of exposure to pesticides and nitrates may not be obvious for many decades.”
Other work by the same team showed that more babies are born prematurely when pesticide use is at its highest. Dr James Lemons, also of Indiana University, said:
“I believe this work may lay the foundation for some of the most important basic and clinical research and public health initiatives of our time.
“To recognise that what we put into our environment has potential pandemic effects on pregnancy outcome and possibly on child development is a momentous observation, which hopefully will transform the way humanity cares for its world.”