A new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found that even moderate exposure to certain pesticides during pregnancy may affect infants' size and weight at birth.
For the study, researchers examined nearly 500 newborns and tested their umbilical cord blood for pesticide residues. They found that babies with higher pesticide levels tended to be smaller at birth.
Researches tested the umbilical cord blood for DDT and three other organochlorines — chemicals that are now banned or restricted in the U.S. but still persist in the environment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diet is the main potential source of pesticide exposure — with fatty foods, like dairy products and oily fish, topping the list.
In the new study, researchers found that for each 10-fold increase in any of the four pesticides found in the umbilical cord blood, the babies birth weight dipped by roughly 2 to 4 ounces.