A new study in the February 7th issue of Pediatrics, warns that exposure to a type of pesticide used for Spring pests could increase the risk for pregnant women that their baby will suffer learning disabilities. Lead author Megan Horton of the Colombia Center for Children's Environmental Health says fetuses exposed to the highest levels of the chemical Permethrin, which is commonly used in agriculture as well as pest control to get rid of termites, fleas, and other household bugs, were 3 times as likely to have a mental delay as those exposed to lower levels. Children with the highest prenatal exposures also scored about 4 points lower on the Dayley Mental Developmental Index, in intelligence tests -- about the same IQ detriment that is caused by lead.
A study last month in the journal of Environmental Health found that nearly all of the 268 women studied had detectable levels of 8 types of chemicals in their blood or urine, and that the typical pregnant woman had dozens of potentially toxic chemicals in her body, including ingredients that are found in flame retardants and rocket fuel. Many of these chemicals pass through the placenta and can concentrate in the fetus.