Does pesticide exposure in the womb mean a lower IQ later on in life?
Three studies featured in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives seem to support that conclusion, although it's very difficult to rule out other factors that might give rise to this trend.
One longitudinal study focused on chlorpyrifos, an insecticide used to eradicate bugs in the house or on growing crops. Gradually, the product was phased out in 2000.
Direct exposure to the insecticide earlier in life is associated with neurological problems, but what about in the womb?
They found that an increase of the chemical in cord blood was associated with worse IQ levels and working memory at the age of 7.
Another study concluded that organophosphates, which are often used in food production, negatively affected children's IQ as early as 1 year of age. It's also worth noting that researchers suspect that moms' genes play a role in how damaging the chemical can be to developing babies.
A third study also focused on organophosphate pesticides by measuring compounds in mothers' urine during pregnancy. The concentration of compounds in the urine was associated with "poorer cognitive development" in children.