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Getting Pregnant in the Summer Lowers Your Child's IQ

By paigemom     May 8, 2007 in Environment
A recent study at the Indiana University School of Medicine has found that children conceived during the months of June, July, or August had lower math and language scores than their peers conceived during the rest of the year.
Researchers suspect that the smoking gun is the more than one billion pounds of pesticides used annually in the U.S. Most pesticides are used during the summer months.
"The fetal brain begins developing soon after conception. The pesticides we use to control pests in fields and our homes and the nitrates we use to fertilize crops and even our lawns are at their highest level in the summer," Dr. Paul Winchester, director of the study, said recently.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, even household gardening pesticides are well-known to put pregnant women at high risk for many birth defects, including oral clefts, neural tube defects, heart defects, and limb defects.
Domestic pesticides are the fastest growing segment of pesticide use. However, there is a connection between all pesticide exposure and birth defects.
"We actually found that every single birth defect category had a greater risk between April and July," Winchester said. "It suggests that with seasonal factors, something is conferring increased risk."
Winchester also noted that the study concluded that statistics for premature birth, the number two cause of infant mortality in the United States, can also be connected to the months when pesticide use is highest.
The evidence in this latest study shows that the trend in pesticide exposure, especially pesticides found in drinking water, is related to trends in test scores many years down the road.
"We have now linked higher pesticide and nitrate exposure in surface water with lower cognitive scores," Winchester said. "Neurodevelopmental consequences of exposure to pesticides and nitrates may not be obvious for many decades."
He added, "What I would like to see is large constituencies asking legislators and health officials to ask the questions in a better way. Drinking water in 16 states in the U.S. is contaminated with pesticides during June, yet many water providers don't even send samples in June."
For women who are pregnant during the summer months, the American Pregnancy Association offers this advice for handling pesticides around the house:
•Have someone else, preferably a professional, apply the pesticides
•Leave the area for the amount of time indicated on the pesticide package
•Remove food, dishes, and utensils from the area before the pesticide is used
•Wash the area where food is normally prepared following any application of pesticides in the home
•Open the windows and allow the house to ventilate after the treatment is completed
•Wear protective clothing when gardening to prevent contact with plants that have pesticide on them.
Winchester will now turn his attention to children with learning disabilities and their conception date to see if there is another correlation.
This is scary, unbelievably scary.
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