Study Finds Link Between Atrizine, Birth Defect

A popular pesticide, <"">atrazine, is making news again. The crop pesticide was discussed in a study scheduled to be presented at the annual meeting for the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s (SMFM), The Pregnancy Meeting â„¢, in Chicago, said Science Daily. The findings are expected to detail a link between atrazine and gastroschisis, a birth defect, said Science Daily.

Science Daily explained that gastroschisis is an “inherited congenital abdominal wall defect” that generally occurs in the intestines, but can occur in other organs, explained Science Daily. The organ typically develops outside the fetus’ abdomen and through an opening in the abdominal wall. Gastroschisis is increasing in prevalence, showing a two-to-four-fold increase in the past three decades, said Science Daily. The team, at the University of Washington in Seattle, was advised of the increase in the eastern portion of the state of Washington, which led them to hypothesize that there could be a link to that area’s environment, said Science Daily.

“Our state has about two times the national average number of cases of gastroschisis,” said Dr. Sarah Waller, one of the study’s authors, quoted Science Daily. “The life expectancy for fetuses with this diagnosis is better than 90 percent; however it requires delivery at a tertiary care center with immediate neonatal intervention which often separates families and can cause serious financial and emotional stress.”

The team studied all cases of live-born infants with gastroschisis from 1987 to 2006, said Science Daily, and matched birth certificates with U.S. Geological Survey databases containing information on agricultural spraying. The chemicals atrazine, nitrates, and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid were reviewed in 805 cases that contained 3616 study controls; gastroschisis occurred with increased frequency in babies whose mothers lived about 15 miles from an area containing a “high surface water contamination with atrazine,” said Science Daily, and for babies conceived during months when atrazine use was more ubiquitous.

In October we wrote that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was re-evaluating health outcomes linked to atrazine discovered in drinking water, said the Associated Press (AP) previously. The AP noted that, based on research, rainstorm run-off can contaminate streams, rivers, and water systems; also, emerging studies indicate that even at lower levels, atrazine’s presence in drinking water can result in “low birth weights, birth defects and reproductive problems,” said the AP.

We have long been following links between pesticides and herbicides and adverse medical effects across various demographics. We recently wrote that another study found a link between pediatric cancer and household pesticides. That research discovered the associations occurred in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer that generally develops when children are between three and seven years of age, said ScienceDaily, previously. Prior research also pointed to links between pesticides and childhood cancers

Last year, we wrote about links between pesticides and Parkinson’s disease and prior to that we also wrote that researchers said that pesticide exposure might also be linked to an increase in Alzheimer’s disease risks. Reuters also previously reported that the results of a study of 319 Parkinson’s patients and 200 nonParkinson’s-affected relatives found that people diagnosed with Parkinson’s are more than two times likelier to report pesticide exposure over people not diagnosed with the disease.

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