A recent study has alleged a relationship between prenatal exposure to certain widely used pesticides and an increased risk of attention problems in preschool-age kids. Brenda Eskenazi, et al., “PON1 and Neurodevelopment in Children from the CHAMACOS Study Exposed to Organophosphate Pesticides in Utero,” Environmental Health Perspectives, August 19, 2010. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health collected urine samples twice during the pregnancies of more than 300 Mexican-American women in agricultural communities and later evaluated their children at ages 3½ and 5 for symptoms of attention disorders. They concluded that prenatal organophosphate metabolite levels were “significantly linked” to attention troubles by age 5, especially among boys.  

“These studies provide a growing body of evidence that organophosphate pesticide exposure can impact human neurodevelopment, particularly among children,” co-author Brenda Eskenazi said in a UC Berkeley press statement, adding that the results warrant precautionary measures when handling food exposed to pesticides. “I would recommend thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables before eating them, especially if you’re pregnant,” she said. See UC Berkeley Press Release, August 19, 2010.