NEW YORK, March 22 (UPI) -- Exposure to the pesticide chlorpyrifos -- banned for use in U.S. households -- is associated with early childhood developmental delays, U.S. researchers say.
Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health examined the association between exposure to the pesticide and mental and physical impairments in children in low-income areas of New York neighborhoods in the South Bronx and Northern Manhattan.
Chlorpyrifos was commonly used in these neighborhoods until it was banned for household use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2001, but it is still used as an agricultural pesticide on fruits and vegetables.
After controlling for building dilapidation and community-level factors such as percentage of residents living in poverty, the research indicates that high chlorpyrifos exposure was associated with a 6.5-point decrease in the Psychomotor Development Index score and a 3.3-point decrease in the Mental Development Index score in 3-year-olds.
The findings are published online in the American Journal of Public Health.