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Aerial spraying to combat mosquitoes linked to increased risk of autism in children

New study finds a community's use of airplanes to spread pesticide each summer may pose a greater risk of autism spectrum disorder and developmental disorders among children born in the area

Date:
April 30, 2016
Source:
American Academy of Pediatrics
Summary:
New research suggests that the use of airplanes to spray anti-mosquito pesticides may increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder and developmental delays among children.
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New research to be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2016 Meeting suggests that the use of airplanes to spray anti-mosquito pesticides may increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder and developmental delays among children.

Researchers who will present the abstract, "Aerial Pesticide Exposure Increases the Risk of Developmental Delay and Autism Spectrum Disorder," identified a swampy region in central New York where health officials use airplanes to spray pyrethroid pesticides each summer. The pesticides target mosquitoes that carry the eastern equine encephalitis virus, which can cause swelling of the brain and spinal cord. They found that children living in ZIP codes in which aerial pesticide spraying has taken place each summer since 2003 were approximately 25 percent more likely to have an autism diagnosis or documented developmental delay compared to those in ZIP codes with other methods of pesticide distribution, such as manually spreading granules or using hoses or controlled droplet applicators.

"Other studies have already shown that pesticide exposure might increase a child's risk for autism spectrum disorder or developmental delay," said lead investigator Steven Hicks, MD PhD. "Our findings show that the way pesticides are distributed may change that risk. Preventing mosquito-borne encephalitis is an important task for public health departments," he said. "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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Materials provided by American Academy of Pediatrics. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


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American Academy of Pediatrics. "Aerial spraying to combat mosquitoes linked to increased risk of autism in children: New study finds a community's use of airplanes to spread pesticide each summer may pose a greater risk of autism spectrum disorder and developmental disorders among children born in the area." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160430100405.htm>.
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2016, April 30). Aerial spraying to combat mosquitoes linked to increased risk of autism in children: New study finds a community's use of airplanes to spread pesticide each summer may pose a greater risk of autism spectrum disorder and developmental disorders among children born in the area. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 27, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160430100405.htm
American Academy of Pediatrics. "Aerial spraying to combat mosquitoes linked to increased risk of autism in children: New study finds a community's use of airplanes to spread pesticide each summer may pose a greater risk of autism spectrum disorder and developmental disorders among children born in the area." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160430100405.htm (accessed April 27, 2017).