New Study Links Pesticide Exposure to Autism

Scientists at the University of California (UC), Davis and UC Los Angeles published findings that further strengthen the link between pesticide exposure and autism.  According to the researchers, this is the third major study identifying a specific connection between autism and pesticide exposure. Additional studies have concluded that pesticides are also implicated in developmental delay in children.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives assessed whether pregnant women living close to areas using agricultural pesticides gave birth to children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or developmental delay (DD). California maps the use of agricultural pesticides extensively, allowing the scientists from UC Davis and UC Los Angeles to track 970 pregnant women and their pesticide exposures across the state. Commercial pesticide application data from the California Pesticide Use Report (1997-2008) were linked to the addresses of the women during pregnancy. The researchers totalled the amounts of active ingredient applied for various pesticide compounds (organophophates, organochlorines, pyrethroids, and carbamates) within 0.77 mile (1.25 kilometer), 0.93 mile (1.5 kilometer), and 1.1 miles (1.75 kilometers) from the home.

The children of the women studied included 486 with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), 168 with a developmental delay (DD) and 316 with typical development. Approximately one-third of the mothers studied lived just under one mile (1.5 kilometers) of an agricultural pesticide application during pregnancy. The scientists found that living close to organophosphate pesticides at some point during pregnancy was associated with a 60% increased risk for ASD. Organophosphates are a group of chemicals commonly used in insecticides, herbicides and nerve gases – they were discovered in the 19th century but their notorious history includes use as chemical weapons against humans in the Second World War.

Additionally, children of mothers living near pyrethroid insecticide applications just prior to conception or during the third trimester were at greater risk for both ASD and DD.  This chemical is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring chemical in chrysanthemum; however it has been modified to be more stable, more potent and is not used as nature (and the chrysanthemum) intended it.  The scientists also found the risk for DD was increased in children whose mothers lived near carbamate applications as well at any point during pregnancy. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), carbamates are a group of chemicals that affect the nervous system by disrupting an enzyme that regulates acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.

The authors of the study believe this examination of ASD strengthens the evidence linking neurodevelopmental disorders (including developmental delay) with pesticide exposures during pregnancy.  They are the first to admit more work is required before concluding pesticides cause autism and other disorders.  Regardless, the evidence continues to mount on the dangers of these chemicals on both agricultural land and in the yards of family homes. When it comes to banning pesticides, we can pick our cause, from earthworms to bees to the water supply.  Now we can add unborn babies to the risk list.

WIN a copy of my new book WEEKEND WONDER DETOX.  Enter a comment below in each of my blog posts during June and you will automatically be entered to win WEEKEND WONDER DETOX. Winners will be announced each week (winners will be notified via Care2 profile). Good luck! (Please note: Contest is open to Care2 members with a U.S. mailing address.

Take the FREE WEEKEND WONDER DETOX QUIZCheck out my new books Weekend Wonder Detox and 60 Seconds to Slim. Subscribe to my free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow my blog on my sites and, and Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.




Cici A
Cici Aabout a year ago

Hello, I am a Belgian mother of 17-year old son with autism. My son is verbal,followed normal education with help from me, his issues : shyness, constipation, concentration problems, problems with maturity, practically no friends because interaction with people is difficult, parasite, yeast on him, acne, kind of dandruff on top of his head. Since the age of 8, we have been trying a lot of natural supplements, hospitals med and i have wasted a lot of money trying to make him became a man and live freely without being intimidated by friends in the neighbor hood also to get him better and more focused for school matters and his general health. Nothing ever seems to pull through not until one day, i decided to share his situation to a very close friend of mine who claims there is an herbal man who cured her 12 years old son called Baba Alika and has also helped a lot of women to cure their children's Autism. quickly i contacted his email: been giving to me by miss Ava, just to give him a test, i spoke to him he asked me to purchase his Autism roots herbs and seed oil which i did, he promised to send it as soon as purchased and thereafter i received it and start to use the Autism herbal med immediately on him for only 7 days instructed by Baba Alika. it was unbelievable after 21 days i was my son totally cured and free from Autism disgrace and embarrassment. There was so much improvement. He seems to get more

Mark Bill
Past Member 4 years ago

I love the way you write your post. Each and everything is simply perfect. Thanks
High School Diploma In Weeks

Julianna D.
Juliana D4 years ago


Arlette King
Arlette King4 years ago

It is sad to see what we are doing to the planet and our children

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H4 years ago

Not surprising. This has been discussed for many years. Pesticides and chemical additives in food containers. More and more kids will have health issues.

Michelle S.
Michelle S4 years ago

Monsanto is population control...

Edo R.
Edo R4 years ago

Thank you for sharing

JL A4 years ago

worth a second visit since main Healthy Living section page is about all that has links to new articles (but that's an improvement on yesterday)

Brian M.
Past Member 4 years ago

Neurodiversity is apparently a concept that troubles most neurotypicals. Autists seek understanding and acceptance.

holly masih
.4 years ago