High exposure to pesticides as a result of living near farmers’ fields appears to increase the risk of giving birth to a baby with “abnormalities” by about 9 per cent, according to new research.
Researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, compared 500,000 birth records for people born in the San Joaquin Valley between 1997 and 2011 and levels of pesticides used in the area.
The average use of pesticides over that period was about 975kg for each 2.6sq km area per year. But, for pregnant women in areas where 4,000kg of pesticides was used, the chance of giving birth prematurely rose by about 8 per cent and the chance of having a birth abnormality by about 9 per cent.
Issue 10, Volume 12