Exposure to heavy pesticide use during peak periods can impact neurobehavioral performance in children

Potential short-term neurobehavioral alterations in children associated with a peak pesticide spray season: The Mother’s Day flower harvest in Ecuador

Researchers from the University of California San Diego, School of Medicine, in collaboration with scientists from Ecuador and Minnesota, have found that exposure to heavy pesticide use during peak periods can impact neurobehavioral performance in children. The study focused on exposure to organophosphate pesticides, which have been associated with a broad range of diseases in both children and adults.

2017 Study Highlights

  • Little is known about acute neurobehavior change related to pesticide spray periods.
  • Ecuador’s Mother’s Day (MD) flower production is a period of high pesticide use.
  • We examined 308 non-worker children aged 4–9y, once between 63 and 100 days after MD.
  • Neurobehavioral scores were worse in children examined sooner (vs later) after MD.
  • Associations were strongest with attention/inhibition, visuospatial, and sensorimotor.

Abstract

Background
Exposures to cholinesterase inhibitor pesticides (e.g. organophosphates) have been associated with children’s neurobehavioral alterations, including attention deficit and impulsivity. Animal studies have observed transient alterations in neurobehavioral performance in relation to cholinesterase inhibitor pesticide exposures; however, limited evidence exists regarding transient effects in humans.

Methods
We estimated the associations between neurobehavioral performance and time after Mother’s Day flower harvest (the end of a heightened pesticide usage period) among 308 4-to 9-year-old children living in floricultural communities in Ecuador in 2008 who participated in the ESPINA study. Children’s neurobehavior was examined once (NEPSY-II: 11 subtests covering 5 domains), between 63 and 100 days (SD: 10.8 days) after Mother’s Day harvest (blood acetylcholinesterase activity levels can take 82 days to normalize after irreversible inhibition with organophosphates).

Results
The mean (SD) neurobehavioral scaled scores across domains ranged from 6.6 (2.4) to 9.9 (3.3); higher values reflect greater performance. Children examined sooner after Mother’s Day had lower neurobehavioral scores than children examined later, in the domains of (score difference per 10.8 days, 95%CI): Attention/Inhibitory Control (0.38, 0.10–0.65), Visuospatial Processing (0.60, 0.25–0.95) and Sensorimotor (0.43, 0.10–0.77). Scores were higher with longer time post-harvest among girls (vs. boys) in Attention/Inhibitory Control.

Conclusions
Our findings, although cross-sectional, are among the first in non-worker children to suggest that a peak pesticide use period may transiently affect neurobehavioral performance, as children examined sooner after the flower harvest had lower neurobehavioral performance than children examined later. Studies assessing pre- and post-exposure measures are needed.

Sources
  • Potential short-term neurobehavioral alterations in children associated with a peak pesticide spray season: The Mother’s Day flower harvest in Ecuador, science direct, doi.org/10.1016/j.neuro.2017.02.002, 7 February 2017.
  • Exposure to Heavy Pesticide Use Can Impact Neurobehavioral Performance in Children, Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2017.
  • Image credit wikimedia.

Mother’s Day Infographic

Celebrate DES Mothers advocating for all DES Victims

4
Celebrate DES Mothers advocating for all DES Victims on March 06, 2016.

A very special Happy Mother’s Day to EVERY type of mother!

Portrait of a Mother – Bumps Along the Way Pregnancy Vlog – Pregnant After Stillbirth

No matter if you’ve suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth, have been TTCing for months or years, adopted your children, became a step-mom, lost your perfect baby, or have a bright and cheerful bundle of joy–you are a mother, and today is your day.
A very special Happy Mother’s Day to EVERY type of mother!

More information

“How to” honour your Childlessness on Mother’s Day

Gateway Women, the global friendship and support network for childless women

For many DES daughters, sadly, the greatest right of women has been stolen! For those of us who have experienced miscarriages, who want to have kids but are struggling or unable to, Mother’s Day serves as a stark reminder filled with personal sorrow…

mothers-day-ecard image
You can find out how to honour your childlessness this Mother’s Day by reading Jodykat’ post on Gateway Women.

Yesterday, Jody Day said:

  • For those of us in the UK, we get two onslaughts of media around the day – both on our own Mothering Sunday and then on the US and global Mother’s Day celebrated in May. A double-dose of smugness, cloying sentimentality, alienation and disenfranchised grief. Hooray – let’s all buy cards for that!
  • Silencing ourselves for fear of sounding bitter is much more likely to make us bitter. We need to understand that anger is an entirely valid emotional response to the unfairness we’re having to make our peace with.
  • Once we learn to acknowledge our grief and to do our grief work, we can experience the healing that is its gift. This year, do something differently and honour yourself and your childlessness on Mother’s Day.

Find lots of great suggestions on how to honour your childlessness this Mother’s Day by reading Jodykat’ post on Gateway Women, 13 March 2015.

More about DES pregnancy risks and DES and infertility, pregnancy studies…

Three-People IVF: Mother’s Day Card

In the UK, MPs are clearing the way for three-parent babies…

Three-Person-IVF-cartoon
MPs clear the way for three-parent babies: Commons in historic vote despite opposition from church leaders.
Watch @DES_Journal diaporama and health cartoons album on Flickr. Image via: DailyMail.
More information
On Flickr®

It’s Mother’s Day! Of all the Rights of Women, the Greatest is to be a Mother

Sadly for many DES daughters this right has been stolen!

Diethylstilbestrol, Journal of a DES Daughter on Facebook
It’s Mother’s Day !

Sadly for many DES daughters this right has been stolen! For those of us who have experienced miscarriages, who want to have kids but are struggling or unable to, Mother’s Day serves as a stark reminder filled with personal sorrow … Read DES pregnancy risks to find out more.

More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources