Neurocognitive Effects of Pesticides in Children
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Pesticides have been used for many years to treat pests in agricultural fields; however, the toxicity of some chemicals has caused diverse neurocognitive effects in children even at very low doses. Scientists have noted a possible increased risk for attention disorders in children who were exposed to organophosphate pesticides while in the womb. Recently, there have been a number of studies investigating the impact of low-dose organophosphate exposure on children's neurodevelopment. Exposure to high levels of organophosphate pesticides can potentially increase the odds for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children. Numerous studies have demonstrated that in children the level of enzymes needed to metabolize pesticides are considerably lower than those in adults. In addition, recent studies suggest that some children may harbor genetic variations that increase their susceptibility to pesticide-related neurocognitive dysfunction. Despite the growing evidence regarding the impact of pesticides on neurocognitive development in children, there is a lack of research and clinical efforts regarding the development of diagnostic outcomes related to pesticide use, especially those that can be used in schools to identify pesticide-related decreases in a childs academic and cognitive performance. No specific educational programs exist that address pesticide-related cognitive impairments as it relates to a students academic progress.