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Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/EHP504

Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticide Use and IQ in 7-Year-Old Children

Robert B. Gunier,1 Asa Bradman,1 Kim G. Harley,1 Katherine Kogut,1 and Brenda Eskenazi1
Author Affiliations open
1School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA

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  • Background: Residential proximity to agricultural pesticide use has been associated with neural tube defects and autism but more subtle outcomes like cognition have not been studied.

    Objectives: Evaluate the relationship between prenatal residential proximity to agricultural use of potentially neurotoxic pesticides and neurodevelopment in 7-year old children.

    Methods: Participants included mothers and children (n=283) living in the agricultural Salinas Valley of California enrolled in the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children Of Salinas (CHAMACOS) study. We estimated agricultural pesticide use within one km of maternal residences during pregnancy using a geographic information system, residential location, and California’s comprehensive agricultural Pesticide Use Report data. We used regression models to evaluate prenatal residential proximity to agricultural use of five potentially neurotoxic pesticide groups (organophosphates, carbamates, pyrethroids, neonicotinoids, and manganese fungicides) and five individual organophosphates (acephate, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, malathion and oxydemeton-methyl) and cognition in 7-year old children. All models included prenatal urinary dialkyl phosphate metabolite concentrations.

    Results: We observed a decrease of 2.2 points (95% Confidence Interval (CI): -3.9, -0.5) in Full-Scale intelligence quotient (IQ) and 2.9 points (95% CI: -4.4, -1.3) in verbal comprehension for each standard deviation increase in toxicity-weighted use of organophosphate pesticides. In separate models, we observed similar decrements in Full-Scale IQ with each standard deviation increase of use for two organophosphates (acephate and oxydemeton-methyl) and three neurotoxic pesticide groups (pyrethroids, neonicotinoids, and manganese fungicides).

    Conclusions: This study identified potential relationships between maternal residential proximity to agricultural use of neurotoxic pesticides and poorer neurodevelopment in children.

  • This EHP Advance Publication article has been peer-reviewed, revised, and accepted for publication. EHP Advance Publication articles are completely citable using the DOI number assigned to the article. This document will be replaced with the copyedited and formatted version as soon as it is available. Through the DOI number used in the citation, you will be able to access this document at each stage of the publication process.

    Citation: Gunier RB, Bradman A, Harley KG, Kogut K, Eskenazi B. Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticide Use and IQ in 7-Year-Old Children. Environ Health Perspect; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/EHP504

    Received: 8 January 2016
    Revised: 13 May 2016
    Accepted: 14 June 2016
    Published: 25 July 2016

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