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In The News: Pesticides May Decrease a Child's I.Q. in Womb

4/22/2011 12:10:44 PM

Tags: Samantha Collins, Pesticides, In The News, Study, Organic, Pest Control

S.CollinsIf you’re pregnant, it may be best if you stay away from foods that were grown with pesticides. According to a few new studies, pre-natal exposure to the pest-killing chemicals may cause your child to have a lower I.Q.

Each study started about 10 years ago when researchers from University of California, Berkeley, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Columbia University collected data from about 1,000 pregnant women. Throughout the decade, the women would give blood and urine samples so that the researchers could measure their pesticide exposure. The results showed that pregnant women with a higher exposure to pesticides gave birth to children who had a lower I.Q., compared with their peers, when they reached elementary school.

The pesticide at hand is the common chemical called organophosphates, which are often used to kill cockroaches in larger cities and are usually sprayed on crop foods.

22 April 2011 Produce Aisle 
Always try to buy organic to reduce your exposure to pesticides.
Photo by William Couch/Courtesy Flickr

Luckily, pregnant women can take easy step to reduce their exposure to this pesticide. For instance, instead of using chemical-based pesticides opt for a more natural repellant. Check out my Herb Companion blog "Prevent Household Pests Now" for great tips about how to naturally rid your home of insects.   

Pregnant women should also buy organic foods whenever possible. However, I know that organic foods can be a bit pricey. So if buying organic is not an option, be sure to wash store-bought produce as well as possible.

To help find the “cleanest” produce, the Environmental Working Group released a Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides. Here, you can learn all about which produce options are usually found to have a high amount of pesticides. No. 1 on its list for the cleanest product is the onion. The dirtiest is celery. (Interesting, eh?) Actually, the bottom four includes favorites such as apples, peaches and strawberries.

In honor of the onion for being the cleanest produce, I’ve found some great, oniony recipes!

Roasted Balsamic Onion Rings with Apple Mint
Sweet Onion Preserves

The results of these studies bring up another question: Will this pesticide be banned? According to the New York Times article "Pesticide Exposure in Womb Affects I.Q.," the findings can be compared to research from the 1980s, which connected lead to lower intelligence among younger children. Because of this, lead was taken out of gasoline, paints and other products to reduce exposure.

What do you think? Should America stop using this pesticide based on the results of this research?

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