DDT Direct Measure

Women with high concentrations of DDT in their blood during pregnancy are 32% more likely to give birth to a child that develops autism, according to a study of almost a million women. The pesticide is banned in many countries for its toll on wildlife and has been linked to cancer and impaired childhood brain development, but is still used as an insecticide in Africa.

The study does not prove that autism is caused by DDT, the authors stress, but it is the first to directly measure DDT levels during pregnancy. Testing another set of chemicals—polychlorinated biphenyls—the study found no association with autism, surprising some scientists.



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