Image: Carolien Dekeersmaeker via flickr
The Environmental Working Group reported this week that three studies published simultaneously all came to the same eye-opening conclusion: prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides leads to diminished IQs in children between the ages of 6 and 9.Working memory, processing speed, verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, and full-scale IQ were all found to be impacted.
The studies all used pregnant women as subjects, testing either their urine during pregnancy or their umbilical blood after birth. The findings compound some of the risks that pesticides were already known to pose to children, including ADHD and learning difficulties.
EWG explains how the latest findings are a direct failing of the EPA:
Between 1999 and 2003, EPA put in place restrictions on the most toxic organophosphate pesticides on crops and in homes. In 2006 the Agency concluded those restrictions would be sufficient to protect children's health, but these studies show further restrictions over the use of organophosphates in agriculture may be necessary to protect kid's health.
"For years, EPA used complex models to assure us that pesticide exposures were safe," said Environmental Working Group senior scientist Sonya Lunder. "These studies strongly suggest that kids remain at risk. The next time EPA and the pesticide industry tell you all is well with the food system, don't rush to believe them."
As a starting point for what produce to avoid if you can't eat entirely organic, here are the fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest levels of pesticide residues, according to EWG:
More on the health effects of pesticides:
Pesticide Exposure Linked to Increased Risk of ADHD
Keep Your Kids the Hell Away From Pesticides--They Could Cause Brain Cancer
In Utero Pesticide Exposure Increases Risk of ADHD
Reduce Your Pesticide Exposure by 80 Percent