Since pregnancy is such a delicate period, double protection should be given not only to what the child eats, but also to what he is exposed to as babies exposed to pesticides while in the womb are at risk of developing poor motor abilities at the age of two, study said.
A total of 696 mothers and newborns at Bulacan Provincial Hospital (BPH) outpatient department were tested for exposure to pesticides since use of pesticides is common in Bulacan, being an agro-industrial province in the Philippines.
Most of mothers and infants were found to be exposed to pesticides with propoxur. Propoxur is used for controlling cockroaches, flies, and mosquitos as well as for agricultural purposes. Researchers also attributed the exposure to propoxur to the high prevalence of flies and mosquitoes in the study site.
After babies were followed up in two years, those with prenatal exposure to pesticide were associated with poorer motor development. The study explained that the effect of prenatal exposure was more evident in motor because it is one of the first functions to develop in children. Also, prenatal exposure poses high risk to children because it is during the pregnancy that brain growth and development are at highest rate of vulnerability.
“Although the recognizable effects of maternal exposure to low doses of environmental pesticides are minimal, serious concerns have been raised about their adverse effects on the fetus, particularly on subsequent neurodevelopmental, learning and behavioral difficulties in the children,” researchers emphasized.
The study was a collaboration of Wayne State University (WSU), University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UPM-NIH), and Davao Regional Hospital (DRH), and was published online at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
- Written by Hope R. Bongolan