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Pesticide Exposure in Womb May Derail Attention Later

Last Updated: August 19, 2010.

It remains to be determined what impact paraoxonase 1 genotypes have on the influence of in utero organophosphate exposure on subsequent childhood mental and motor development, but such exposure does appear to affect attention levels in children, according to two studies published online Aug. 19 in Environmental Health Perspectives.

THURSDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- It remains to be determined what impact paraoxonase 1 (PON1) genotypes have on the influence of in utero organophosphate exposure on subsequent childhood mental and motor development, but such exposure does appear to affect attention levels in children, according to two studies published online Aug. 19 in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Brenda Eskenazi, Ph.D., of the University of California at Berkeley, and colleagues measured dialkyl phosphate (DAP) concentrations in pregnant women, assessed PON1 genotypes and enzyme levels in mothers and offspring, and monitored the mental and psychomotor development of 353 2-year-olds. They found the association between DAPs and mental development strongest in children with a specific PON1 polymorphism, but the interaction was not significant. The authors add that additional research is needed to confirm PON1 modification of the association between in utero organophosphate exposure and neurobehavior.

Amy R. Marks, of the University of California at Berkeley, and colleagues assessed the influence of prenatal DAP exposure on the attention levels of 331 3½-year-olds and 323 5-year-olds. They found a nonsignificant association with attention problems and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in the 3½-year-olds, but a significant association in the 5-year-olds; some outcomes were found only in boys.

"In utero DAPs were associated adversely with attention in young children as assessed by maternal report, psychometrician observation, and direct assessment. These associations were more robust at 5 than 3½ years and stronger in boys," Marks and colleagues conclude.

Abstract - Eskenazi
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Abstract - Marks
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