Pesticide exposure during pregnancy may increase risk of autism

Pregnant women who live near areas where agricultural pesticides are applied experience a higher risk of delivering children with autism or other developmental delays, a UC Davis study has found.

The study, published today in the periodical Environmental Health Perspectives, found that mothers who lived within roughly one mile of where pesticides were applied were found to have a 60 percent higher risk of having children with any of the spectrum of autism disorders, such as Asperger’s syndrome.

The study is the latest in a growing body of research exploring links between the environment and the development of autism.

The results are no small matter for the Central Valley, which receives most of the 200 million pounds of agricultural pesticides applied annually in California.

In Sacramento County, roughly 3,100 public school students have been diagnosed as autistic. The autistic population in the county has risen sevenfold since 2000, according to the California Department of Education.

Read the full, original story: UC Davis study finds link between pesticides, autism

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