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A new study published last week raises further concerns about pesticide exposure – this time linking it to a higher risk of autism. The study found that pregnant women and children who lived within a mile of agricultural areas with lots of pesticide use had a higher likelihood of developing autism, and a much higher risk of developing severe autism if children were exposed in utero and an even higher risk if exposed during their first year.Ecowatch reported on the study, by researchers from UCLA, published in The BMJ, a medical journal, looking at data from California state-mandated pesticide use reporting and 3000 children born between 1998 and 2010 who were diagnosed with autism.
The study authors looked at 11 pesticides linked to intellectual impairment in animals and in humans in other studies, including the chemical chlorpyrifos, which EPA is under a court order to ban.
The study also looked at exposure to air pollution, the economic status of the mother and whether the mother lived in rural or urban areas and found that pesticide exposure increased the risk of autism.
The study does not prove the link to autism but does raise concerns and points to limiting the exposure of pregnant women and young children to pesticides if possible.
Why This Matters: We need more scientific study of pesticides, and to act in a precautionary way when considering a novel approach like spraying fruit with antibiotics. There must be independent research on the use of antibiotics this way, particularly focusing on the impact on human health. Look where the use of pesticides without sufficient research got us – we do not understand even now the detrimental impacts of these chemicals on children and pregnant women. Many parents are refusing to vaccinate their children due to the myth that it raises the risk of developing autism, when the real culprit may be something like pesticides or exposure to other chemicals.
H/T to Tom S for sharing with ODP the antibiotics editorial in Nature.
EPA’s acting chief of enforcement sent a memo to staff last week (that The Hill obtained) calling for them to “[s]trengthen enforcement in overburdened communities by resolving environmental noncompliance through remedies with tangible benefits for the community” with a particular emphasis on “cornerstone environmental statutes.”
Why This Matters: The Biden administration can immediately make progress correcting environmental injustice through fair and strong enforcement of current laws
A long battle over the use of a bug-killing pesticide linked to brain damage in children may be coming to an end. In a ruling last week, a federal appeals court gave the Environmental Protection Agency 60 days to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos, commonly used on oranges, almonds, and other crops — or prove there’s a safe use of the chemical.
Why This Matters: The pesticide industry used the same playbook as with PFAS, tobacco, and oil: raisedoubt about the clear science and prevent immediate action from being taken, to the harm of everyone else.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Decades after scientists first discovered the dangerous public health risks of the pesticide DDT, researchers have confirmed that two generations later, it’s impacting the grandchildren of women exposed in the 1950s and 60s. Those exposed to DDT before it was banned first-hand saw increased rates of breast cancer; subsequently, their children experienced higher […]
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