Pregnant women in California who live close to areas where chemical pesticides are used are more likely to have a child with autism, says a study released by UC Davis researchers Monday.
Women living within about a mile of fields, farms or other sites that use agricultural pesticides have a 60% higher risk of delivering a child with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental delays. Women in their second and third trimesters appear to be at the highest risk, according to the study.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Shelton said regulators should consider testing pesticides to see if they alter the nervous system during development.
"It is not a requirement of getting a pesticide approved," she said. "Instead of putting the onus entirely on women thinking of getting pregnant, I think the public should consider that regulators require this kind of testing."
The study focused on commercial pesticides at multiple sites throughout California and linked the data to addresses of the 1,000 participants in the Northern California-based Childhood Risk of Autism from Genetics and the Environment study, which gathers information on children between 2 and 5 diagnosed with autism or other developmental delays.