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Monday, May 2, 2016

New study links aerial pesticide spraying to autism

Children living in areas that carry out aerial spraying of pesticides to kill mosquitoes have a significantly higher rate of autism than children in other areas, a new study has warned.

The study was conducted in the regions with swamps in New York, where pyrethroid pesticides are sprayed during summers to kill and control populations of mosquitoes carrying the virus responsible for conditions like equine encephalitis.

Children living in areas where aerial spraying is conducted each summer were found to be 25 per cent more likely to suffer from autism spectrum disorder than those in surrounding areas. In areas where the spraying is conducted once a year, one in 120 kids experienced autism spectrum disorder as compared with one in 172 in other parts of New York.

Steven Hicks, Asst. Prof. of pediatrics at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, said that their findings showed that the way pesticides are sprayed might have an impact on autism risk among children.

Speaking on the topic, Professor Hicks added, “Preventing mosquito-borne encephalitis is an important task for public health departments. Communities that have pesticide programs to help control the mosquito population might consider ways to reduce child pesticide exposure, including alternative application methods.”


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