Photo: Dhini van HeerenStop huffing the Raid, moms: In other “sh*t that makes kids dumber” news, toddlers’ brains developed more slowly if their mothers inhaled a lot of a common insecticide ingredient while pregnant, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. Reuters explains:
On average, women breathing the highest amounts of piperonyl butoxide, or PBO, had babies who scored 3.9 points lower on a mental development test at age three (85 points and above is considered normal).
These changes are about the same as those seen in kids with low-level lead exposure, according to Megan Horton, a researcher at Columbia University who worked on the study.
If you’ve got a bun in the oven but bugs in the rest of your, er, kitchen, skip the bug spray in favor of caulking cracks and cleaning up food, said a doctor quoted in the article.
PBO (which isn’t an insecticide itself but a synergist, helping other poisonous ingredients work better) is found in about 1,500 registered products, including bug sprays like Raid and its “Earth Options” version, flea and tick sprays for pet owners, and treatments for crabs and lice. (Another tip for pregnant women: Don’t get crabs.)
The Pesticide Action Network’s database, sort of an ugly version of the Cosmetics Safety Database, lists piperonyl butoxide as a possible carcinogen and suspected endocrine disruptor.