December 11, 2008

Autism and Pesticide Exposure

ASD: Autism Spectrum Disorder

According to scientist's and a growing body of evidence maternal exposure to pesticide during specific gestation periods significantly increases the percentage of children born with ASD in a population. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) include a range of developmental disabilities that are characterized by substantial impairments in social interaction and communication as well as the presence of unusual behaviors. The symptoms range from mild to very severe, appearing before the age of three and lasting throughout a person's life (1). With lead and mercury eliminated as significant factors, one study found that mothers living within 500m of sprayed field sites had a 6:1 ratio of children born with ASD as compared to mothers not living near treated field sites (2). Senator Hooser's Bill SB 3170 delineated a 1500ft pesticide-free buffer zone around schools. This Bill never made it out of committee the result of "farm, seed, and pesticide lobby," influence (3).

1. "Exposure of Organochlorine Pesticides Linked to Autism": Pesticide and You, Volume 27, Number 3, pg. 6, Fall 2007
2. "Maternal Residence Near Agricultural Pesticide Applications and Autism
Spectrum Disorders among Children in the California Central Valley"
Eric M. Roberts, Paul B. English, Judith K. Grether, Gayle C. Windham, Lucia Somberg, and Craig Wolff
3. "Guest Viewpoint" - Kaua'i legislative update by Senator Gary L. Hooser
4. "The Autism Awareness Ribbon"

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