Rauh, Virginia, Arunajadai, Srikesh, Horton, Megan, Perera, Frederica, Hoepner, Lori, Barr, Dana B, & Whyatt, Robin; “Seven-year neurodevelopmental scores and prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos, a common agricultural pesticide;” Environmental Health Perspectives, 2011, 119(8), 1196-1201; DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1003160.
BACKGROUND: In a longitudinal birth cohort study of inner-city mothers and children (Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health), we have previously reported that prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos (CPF) was associated with neurodevelopmental problems at 3 years of age.
OBJECTIVE: The goal of the study was to estimate the relationship between prenatal CPF exposure and neurodevelopment among cohort children at 7 years of age.
METHODS: In a sample of 265 children, participants in a prospective study of air pollution, we measured prenatal CPF exposure using umbilical cord blood plasma (picograms/gram plasma) and 7-year neurodevelopment using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, 4th edition (WISC-IV). Linear regression models were used to estimate associations, with covariate selection based on two alternate approaches.
RESULTS: On average, for each standard deviation increase in CPF exposure (4.61 pg/g), Full-Scale intelligence quotient (IQ) declined by 1.4% and Working Memory declined by 2.8%. Final covariates included maternal educational level, maternal IQ, and quality of the home environment. We found no significant interactions between CPF and any covariates, including the other chemical exposures measured during the prenatal period (environmental tobacco smoke and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons).
CONCLUSIONS: We report evidence of deficits in Working Memory Index and Full-Scale IQ as a function of prenatal CPF exposure at 7 years of age. These findings are important in light of continued widespread use of CPF in agricultural settings and possible longer-term educational implications of early cognitive deficits.