Pesticide Exposure and Neurodevelopment in Migrant Farmworker Children of South Georgia
Authors: Rachel Kauffman, Michele Marcus, Judith L. Wold and Chensheng Lu
Abstract: In this paper we review the current state of knowledge regarding pesticide exposure and neurodevelopment in children and describe a study underway among migrant farmworker children in South Georgia. Growing evidence from animal studies, research on infant, toddler and motherís exposure to pesticides suggest a relationship between pesticide exposure and adverse developmental outcomes. This paper explores methods of exposure measurement, with a focus on biomarkers and current state- of-the-art outcome measures of neurodevelopment. We also explore the challenges of this type of study in migrant farmworker and pediatric populations. Migrant farmworker populations are of particular concern due to higher rates of exposure. We describe four studies contributing to this literature using various types of exposure and outcome measurements. Children are uniquely vulnerable because of their behavior, higher activity levels and faster metabolism. Those living in agricultural areas may be exposed to higher pesticide levels than other children due to pesticides tracked into their homes by household members, by pesticide drift, breast milk, or by playing in nearby fields. Very limited information exists on the effects of chronic or repeated exposure to pesticides among children of farmworkers. Studies such as the one described here will help advance knowledge in the field and help vulnerable populations such as migrant farmworkers and their children.