© Ed Yourdon
Exposure to the common crop pesticide chlorpyrifos during pregnancy may harm your baby's brain because it may be linked with abnormal changes in a child's developing brain, according to a new research report.
Scientists at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University reported that those with high exposure to the pesticide chlorpyrifos had abnormalities in the cortex (the outer area of the brain which helps govern intelligence, personality, muscle movement, and other tasks). In other studies, higher exposure to the pesticide is linked with lower IQs and a decline in working memory in children.
The U.S. EPA has banned the residential use of chlorpyrifos in 2001 but still allows its use on crops and can still be sprayed in public places such as golf courses.
Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate that works by blocking an enzyme needed by pests (and people!) for proper nerve functioning.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), symptoms of poisoning from chlorpyrifos include nausea, dizziness, confusion, and sometimes loss of respiratory muscle control and death. Currently, the EPA is reviewing the role of chlorpyrifos in agriculture, since the NRDC petitioned in 2007 to cancel all agricultural registrations for this pesticide.
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences' Early Edition, the research findings raise an alarm for concern and once again reminds us, especially pregnant women to wash fresh produce (fruits and vegetables) thoroughly before eating or cooking them.
A link between exposure to pesticides before birth and low intelligence is being drawn by current research. The chemicals that were studied are called organophosphates, or OP's. These can be found in many products, from the pesticides sprayed on crops to the bug killers used in our homes.
Three different studies that were published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that a correlation between prenatal OP exposure and lower IQ in children did exist. Pesticide levels in pregnant moms were measured in the studies, and one of them found that women with the highest levels went on to have children who had an IQ average that was seven points lower than other children. This research is considered significant because it followed mothers and their offspring over an extended period of time.
Since cesarean childbirth is something most mothers do not like to opt for and natural childbirth is the way to go. There have been tips provided on how to avoid cesarean childbirth. Most deliveries in the U.S. are of cesarean childbirth type and it is impossible to visualize a natural delivery. According to Marilyn Curl, President of Lamaze International- a company promoting safe pregnancy-there has been so many cesarean childbirths in the U.S. now that it seems that it is a very safe option which it is not.
Mothers can control cesarean childbirths and convert them into natural childbirth by following a few tips. Mothers should choose a medical provider with low cesarean childbirth rate. Also mothers should be skeptical about doctors providing them reasons that are not backed by research for cesarean childbirths. Also, labor should start on its own and should not be started by medication; it will help in reducing the probability of a cesarean childbirth. Mothers should also keep skilled labor personnel by their side.
Mothers should also take childbirth courses. This will help them a lot during the actual delivery process.