Pregnant women living within a mile of fields where pesticides were applied faced almost double the risk of having a baby who developed autism — compared to women who lived more than a mile away, a new study finds.
U.C. Davis researchers tracked pesticide applications on farms in the Central Valley, near Sacramento, and the Bay Area and matched that data to the addresses of women who lived nearby when they were pregnant.
The fetus tends to be vulnerable to certain kinds of insults,” said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, an environmental epidemiologist at the MIND Institute at U.C. Davis and lead author of the study. “Pesticides may be one of those sets of chemicals that we need to be particularly careful about.