‘Relationship between pesticide use and birth defects’

‘Relationship between pesticide use and birth defects’

Photo: 123RF

Pregnant women who are close to ground live in an area where pesticides are sprayed, would be more likely to have babies with geboorteproblemen.

This is evident from a large-scale study published in the scientific journal Nature. The researchers looked at data from about half a million children born between the years 1997 and 2011. The babies were born in the San Joaquin Valley in California, an area of roughly 500 by 100 km, where intensive agriculture takes place.

The data of the children born were combined with information about the pesticides. It seemed, indeed, a relationship to note between the quantity of pesticides used and the number of geboorteproblemen (including underweight at birth and a premature birth).

4.200 kilos

The 5 percent of pregnant women who most came into contact with pesticides – they were throughout their pregnancy exposed to 4.200 kilos within a radius of 1.6 square kilometers – were the most likely to be geboorteprobleem.

5.8 percent of all children in total had a birth defect. In babies born in areas where a lot of toxins in the farming were used, this number is 6.4 percent. Mothers from these areas, therefore, have 9 percent more chance of having a child with a birth defect. Also were these children, on average, 13 grams lighter than babies born in an area where fewer pesticides were sprayed.

The researchers therefore recommend also to determine the areas in which many pesticides are used. It is then a matter for frequent use of the toxin to occur in areas where many people live.

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