Pesticide, brain abnormalities linked

Pregnant mothers urged to avoid areas sprayed with chlorpyrifos

Children who were exposed in utero to a common insecticide developed post-birth brain abnormalities, according to a recent study.

The study, published online in Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, conducted magnetic-resonance imaging on the brains of children who were born before the United States limited the use of chlorpyrifos, finding some parts of the brain overgrown and other parts smaller, according to The agent was banned in residential areas 12 years ago, but mothers can still be exposed to moderate levels in agricultural settings and as residue on produce.

“Prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos is risky for pregnant women and should be avoided,” said Virginia Rauh, the study’s lead author. Rauh urged pregnant women to avoid agricultural areas where pesticide spraying is taking place, wash all fruits and vegetables and seek out organic food sources.