Can a child's development be badly affected by the level of pesticides and pollutants its mother was exposed to while she was pregnant?
New research suggests that a child's visual and motor abilities can all be dramatically affected if the mother was exposed to an above-average level of pollution.
For their study, researchers monitored the developmental progress of 121 children, aged between three and 23 months, who were born in the rural region of Cayambe in Ecuador, and whose mothers worked in the cut-flower industry. The women were exposed to high levels of pesticides in their work.
The children had lower communication skills of 8 per cent, of motor skills such as reach and grasp of 13 per cent, and poorer visual skills than children whose mothers didn't work in the flower industry.
(Source: Epidemiology, 2008; 19: 851-9).