Jun 26 2014
A new study out of UC Davis is adding to mounting evidence linking pesticide exposure among pregnant women to higher rates of autism. Researchers studied 970 children living around farming areas in Northern California and found that pregnant women who lived less than one mile from a farm using pesticides had a 60 percent higher chance of having a baby with autism or an autism spectrum disorder.
By examining State required data on pesticide use, researchers were able to identify which pesticides women may have been exposed to and at what point in their pregnancy. The results confirmed previous studies done in 2007 which correlated fetal pesticide exposure to increased rates of autism.
Rates of autism have been rising precipitously throughout the US. In just a two-year period between 2012 and 2014, rates have risen a shocking 30 percent. While scientists have found no definitive reason to explain the jump in cases, they are getting closer to pinpointing a combination of genetic markers as well as environmental factors which can contribute to the disorder.
GUEST: Dr. Janie Shelton, Epidemiologist and lead author of the autism study. She began her research while a student at UC Davis’s MIND Institute. She is currently working as a consultant to the United Nations