Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health

IMPACT FACTOR 2014: 0.695
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.332

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2014: 0.370
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2014: 0.554
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2014: 1.071

Open Access
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Prenatal and Childhood Exposure to Pesticides and Neurobehavioral Development: Review of Epidemiological Studies

Joanna Jurewicz
  • Department of Environmental Epidemiology, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź. Poland
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Wojciech Hanke
  • Department of Environmental Epidemiology, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź. Poland
  • Department of Informatics and Medical Statistics, Medical University, Łódź, Poland
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2008-07-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10001-008-0014-z

Prenatal and Childhood Exposure to Pesticides and Neurobehavioral Development: Review of Epidemiological Studies

Objectives: Conventional pesticides comprise a diverse group of substances intended to destroy, repel or control organisms identified as pests. Compared to the studies on lead, mercury, and PCBs, few epidemiological studies have assessed the developmental neurotoxicity of pesticides. Materials and Methods: Epidemiological studies focused on the neurobehavioural development of children exposed to pesticides were identified by searching the PubMed, Medline, EBSCO, Agricola and TOXNET databases. Results: The findings of the studies reviewed imply that children's exposure to pesticides may bring about impairments in their neurobehavioral development. Children exposed to organophosphate pesticides (OP), both prenatally and during childhood, may have difficulties performing tasks that involve short-term memory, and may show increased reaction time, impaired mental development or pervasive developmental problems. In newborns, the effects of OP exposure are manifested mainly by an increased number of abnormal reflexes, while in adolescents, by mental and emotional problems. The studies investigating association between exposure to organochlorine pesticides and neurodevelopmental effects show inconsistent results. While some studies report impairments in mental and psychomotor functions, other studies do not confirm the above. Conclusion: The information deriving from epidemiological studies indicate a need to increase awareness among people and children exposed to pesticides about the association between the use of pesticides and neurodevelopmental impairments. Therefore, the principle of prudence should become a rule.

Keywords: Children; Neurobehavioural development; Exposure to pesticides

  • Barone S, Das KP, Lassiter TL, White LD. Vulnerable processes of nervous system development: a review of markers and methods.Neurotoxicology 2000;21:15-36.PubMedGoogle Scholar

  • Casida JE, Quistad GB. Organophosphate toxicology: safety aspects of nonacetylcholinesterase secondary targets.Chem Res Toxicol 2004;17:983-98.CrossrefPubMedGoogle Scholar

  • Grandjean P, Harari R, Barr DB, Debes F. Pesticide exposure and stunting as independent predictors of neurobe-havioural deficits in Ecuadorian school children.Pediatrics 2006;117(3):e546-e56.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Eskenazi B, Bradman A, Castorina R. Exposures of children to organophosphate pesticides and their potential adverse health effects.Environ Health Perspect 1999;107(Suppl 3): 409-19.CrossrefPubMedGoogle Scholar

  • Furlong CE, Holland N, Richter RJ, Bradman A, Ho A, Eskenazi B. PON1 status of farmworker mothers and children as a predictor of organophosphate sensitivity.Pharmacogenet Genomics 2006;16(3):183-90.Google Scholar

  • Goldman LR, Koduru S. Chemicals in the environment and developmental toxicity to children: a public health and policy perspective.Environ Health Perspect 2000;108(3):443-8.PubMedGoogle Scholar

  • Winneke G. Appraisal of neurobehavioural methods in environmental health research: the developing brain as a target for neurotoxic chemicals.Int J Hyg Environ Health 2007;210:601-9.Google Scholar

  • Rohlman DS, Arcury TA, Quandt SA, Lasarev M, Rothlein J, Travers R, et al. Neurobehavioural performance in preschool children from agricultural communities in Oregon and North Carolina.NeuroToxicology 2005;26:589-98.Google Scholar

  • Rauh VA, Garfinkel R, Perera FP, Andrews HF, Hoepner L, Barr DB. Impact of prenatal chlorpyrifos exposure on neurodevelopment in the first 3 years of life among inner-city children.Pediatrics 2006;118(6):1845-59.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Ruckart PZ, Kakolewski K, Bove FJ, Kaye W. Long-term neurobehavioural health effects of methyl parathion exposure in children in Mississippi and Ohio.Environ Health Perspect 2004;112(1):46-51.Google Scholar

  • Young JG, Eskenazi B, Gladstone EA, Bradman A, Pedersen L, Johnson C. Association between in utero organophosphate pesticide exposure and abnormal reflexes in neonates.Neurotoxicology 2005;26(2):199-209.CrossrefPubMedGoogle Scholar

  • Eskenazi B, Marks AR, Bradman A, Harley K, Barr DB, Johnson C. Organophosphate pesticide exposure and neurodevelopment in young Mexican-American children.Environ Health Perspect 2007;115(5):792-8.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Keifer M, Rivas F, Moon JD, Checkoway H. Symptoms and cholinesterase activity among rural residents living near cotton fields in Nicaragua.Occup Environ Med 1996;53:726-9.Google Scholar

  • Engel SM, Berkowitz GS, Barr DB, Teitelbaum SL, Siskind J, Meisel SJ. Prenatal organophosphate metabolite and organochlorine levels and performance on the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale in a multiethnic pregnancy cohort.Am J Epidemiol 2007;265 (12):1397-404.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Wendo C. Uganda considers DDT to protect homes from malaria. Health officials claim DDE will help save money, but critics warn of environmental costs.Lancet 2004;363:1376.Google Scholar

  • Rogan WJ, Gladen BC. PCBs, DDE and child development at 18 and 24 months.Ann Epidemiol 1991;1:407-13.Google Scholar

  • Gladen BC, Rogan WJ. Effects of perinatal polychlorinated biphenyls and dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethane on later development.J Pediatr 1991;119:58-63.Google Scholar

  • Darvill T, Lomky E, Reihman J, Stewart P, Pagano J. Prenatal exposure to PCBs and infant performance on the Fagan test of infant intelligence.Neurotoxicology 2000;21:1029-38.Google Scholar

  • Ribas-Fito N, Cardo E, Sala M, Eulàlia de Muga M, Mazón C, Verdú A, et al. Breastfeeding, exposure to organochlorine compounds, and neurodevelopment in infants. 2003;111(5):e580-e5.Google Scholar

  • Ribas-Fito N, Torrent M, Carrizo D, Munoz-Ortiz L, Julvez J, Grimalt JO, et al. In utero exposure to background concentration of DDT and cognitive functioning among preschoolers.Am J Epidemiol 2006;164:955-62.Google Scholar

  • Torres-Sanchez L, Rothenberg SJ, Schnaas L, Cebrian ME, Osorio E, Hernandez MC, et al. In utero p, p'-DDE exposure and infant neurodevelopment: a perinatal cohort in Mexico.Environ Health Persp 2007;115(3):435-9.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Eskenazi B, Marks AR, Bradman A, Fenster L, Johnson C, Barr DB, et al. In utero exposure to dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and neurodevelopment among young Mexican American children.Pediatrics 2006;118(1):233-41.PubMedCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Guillette EA, Meza MM, Aquilar MG, Soto AD, Garcia IE. An anthropological approach to the evaluation of preschool children exposed to pesticides in Mexico.Environ Health Perspect 1998;106:347-53.Google Scholar

  • Rohlman DS, Bailey SR, Kent Anger W, McCuley L. Assessment of neurobehavioral function with computerized tests in a population of Hispanic adolescents working in agriculture.Environ Res 2001;85(1):14-24.Google Scholar

  • Garry VF, Harkins ME, Erickson LL, Long-Simpson LK, Holland SE, Burroughs BL. Birth defects, season of conception and sex of children born to pesticide applicators living in the Red River Valley of Minnesota, USA.Environ Health Perspect 2002;110(3):441-9.Google Scholar

  • Dietrich KN, Eskenazi B, Schantz S, Yolton K, Rauh VA, Johnson CB, et al. Principles and practices of neurodevelopmental assessment in children: lessons learned from the Centers for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research.Environ Health Perspect 2005;113(10):1437-46.Google Scholar

  • Landrigan P. Pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): an analysis of the evidence that they impair children's neurobehavioral development.Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 2001;73:100-7.Google Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2008-07-09

Published in Print: 2008-01-01

Citation Information: International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, Volume 21, Issue 2, Pages 121–132, ISSN (Online) 1896-494X, ISSN (Print) 1232-1087, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/v10001-008-0014-z.

Export Citation

This content is open access.

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in