Pesticide exposure results in lower birth weights

BabyFootA new study published in Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis shows that women who live near pesticide-treated fields tend to give birth to smaller babies. The study examined 442 pregnant women living near conventional strawberry fields where the pesticide methyl bromide is used as a soil fumigant to determine if exposure to this chemical affected birth weight of babies. “There’s been very little research on residential exposure to methyl bromide. Our study is the first to look at methyl bromide and birth outcomes,” according to Kim Harley, one of the study authors and Associate Director of the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health at the University of California, Berkeley. The study found that women who lived within three miles of areas using methyl bromide during the second trimester of their pregnancy gave birth to babies weighing an average of four ounces less than babies born to women living in areas with no methyl bromide use. This study highlights just one of many potential effects pesticides could be having prenatally on babies.