It has long been known that substances that a mother is exposed to or consumes during pregnancy can have effects on the child. Many birth injuries, deformities or other irregularities can be caused by that exposure-usually in ways that mothers do not even realize. For this reason, it remains important for mothers to be vigilant about all of their activities while pregnant to ensure their unborn child is given the best chance possible to grow without problems. New information about possible risks come out frequently, and so it is important to for awareness to be raised whenever new information uncovers risks of which mother-to-be need should take note.
For example, our Chicago birth injury attorneys were interested to read about a new study linking pesticide exposure to brain injuries in utero discussed last week in Business Week. In general, the report which was just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that there were brain abnormalities in children who were expose to a commonly used insecticide in the womb.
The study involved use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in elementary school children who were found to have the highest exposure levels to chlorpyrifos. Chlorpyrifos was used in insecticides previously but it popularity has changed in recent years as the federal government has limited its use. Now the product is used in only some agricultural settings. The chemical was used previously in Dow Chemical Company’s pesticide known as Dursban.
The MRIs of the children exposed to the chemical when younger revealed that they had structural changes in the brain when compared to those who had not been exposed to the chemicals. Those affected had underdeveloped regions of the brain as was as certain parts that were essentially overgrown. Various parts of the brain were affected by those exposed to the chemical. Those parts of the brain include areas connected to language, attention, emotions, and control. In addition, hormones may be affected later on in certain children.
This represents the first research effort which used actual brain scans to show the difference in children exposed to Dursban. The effort shows that structural changes in the brain are found five to ten years after the actual exposure to the substance. The substance was banned in residential areas a decade ago. However, that does not mean that it doesn’t pose problems. Many women in certain agricultural settings are still exposed to the chemicals while they are pregnant.
As the lead researcher explained, “Prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos is risky for pregnant women and should be avoided. [A] [m]other breathes or ingest the chlorpyrifos when then enters her bloodstream. The chemical crosses the placenta and enters the infant’s blood stream.”
Each Illinois birth injury lawyer at our firm appreciates that this is a reminder to all families about the importance of being aware of exposure during pregnancy. In addition, this effort should also remind those companies and business making and marketing these products of the continued need to be very vigilant about the effects of these products on people and the environment.
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