Can pesticides increase the risk of autism?

Can pesticides increase the risk of autism?
Can pesticides increase the risk of autism?

First synthesized in 1874, DDT kills a wide range of disease-bearing parasites and was used during World War II to control typhus in Europe and the South Pacific. It is a pesticide so effective that the typhus has almost completely disappeared in some parts of Europe. In 1945 it was available for purchase in S. and has been widely used in private homes as well as in agricultural businesses. Although effective, questions were raised when it comes to the safety of using DDT, and ultimately banned in many countries. In 2004, the \.

However, stopping the use of DDT did not make the chemical disappear. DDT is a persistent organic pollutant, which means it decays slowly over the decades, entering the food chain. Over time, chemical levels accumulate in an organism, especially in adipose tissue. Although the exact impact of long-term DDT exposure on human health is not confirmed, it is considered to be a disrupter of the endocrine system and a potential carcinogen. Because short-term exposure to pesticides is considered relatively safe, it is still used to control other pests in areas with particularly high malaria rates, such as parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

However, what is worrying is that DDT can cross the placental barrier, so if a pregnant woman was exposed to this pesticide, the fetus may be affected. In order to find out whether DDT is related in some way to the evolution of autism in some people, they used data from the Finnish Autistic Parental Survey. The scientists analyzed the series samples from more than 750 autistic children. The team measured the level of dichloro-diphenyl-dichloroethylenes (DDE), a component, decomposed of DDT. They found that a child's risk of developing autism was three times higher if his mother had high levels of DDE in the blood.

Similarly, a child's risk of having autism with intellectual problems is double when the DDE level in the mother's blood reaches more than 75%. \. Unfortunately, they are still present in the environment and are in our blood and tissues, \. Alan S. Brown, lead the study.

In the case, they are transmitted to the developing fetus along with genetic factors and environmental factors, the findings suggesting that pre-natal exposure to the DDT toxin may be a trigger for autism. The authors quickly note that they have found an association that is not evidence of the link. However, after controlling confounding factors such as maternal age and previous psychiatric conditions, the results remained significant. They also measured levels of an industrial chemical known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Although previous studies have found connections between PCB and the risk of autism, this study did not find such a relationship.

Because autism appears to increase in prevalence, this research can attract attention. If the link proves to be causative, the next challenge could be to develop ways to remove DDT both from the environment and from the human body. For now, more studies are needed. The conclusion is that agricultural pesticides could play an important role in the rapid rise in disease in recent decades. Currently there are therapies for autism that do their job, but if no action is taken against pesticides, the future may have serious repercussions on the generations to come.


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