Claim: Aerial spraying to combat mosquitos linked to increased risk of autism in children


Very weak statistical results. Researchers have no idea how much, if any, pesticide exposure per child there was. Autism is a very broad classification that lumps together many different developmental problems. There is autism where there is no pesticide spraying. Where was all the autism when pesticides were widely sprayed in the 1950s and 1960s? Could go on.

The media release and abstract is below.


Aerial spraying to combat mosquitos linked to increased risk of autism in children
New study finds a community’s use of airplanes to spread pesticide each summer may pose a greater risk of autism spectrum disorder and developmental disorders among children born in the area


BALTIMORE, MD – New research to be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2016 Meeting suggests that the use of airplanes to spray anti-mosquito pesticides may increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder and developmental delays among children.

Researchers who will present the abstract, “Aerial Pesticide Exposure Increases the Risk of Developmental Delay and Autism Spectrum Disorder,” identified a swampy region in central New York where health officials use airplanes to spray pyrethroid pesticides each summer. The pesticides target mosquitos that carry the eastern equine encephalitis virus, which can cause swelling of the brain and spinal cord. They found that children living in ZIP codes in which aerial pesticide spraying has taken place each summer since 2003 were approximately 25 percent more likely to have an autism diagnosis or documented developmental delay compared to those in ZIP codes with other methods of pesticide distribution, such as manually spreading granules or using hoses or controlled droplet applicators.

“Other studies have already shown that pesticide exposure might increase a child’s risk for autism spectrum disorder or developmental delay,” said lead investigator Steven Hicks, MD PhD. “Our findings show that the way pesticides are distributed may change that risk. Preventing mosquito-borne encephalitis is an important task for public health departments,” he said. “Communities that have pesticide programs to help control the mosquito population might consider ways to reduce child pesticide exposure, including alternative application methods.”


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9 thoughts on “Claim: Aerial spraying to combat mosquitos linked to increased risk of autism in children”

  1. When looking for mosquito habitat, (ponds, bird baths, abandoned rubber tires etc.) it very easy to over look a very prevalent mosquito haven, old large buildings with flat roofs. The roofs sag over time and trap water making large ponds that can last for several weeks, enough to hatch 2 or 3 batches of mosquitoes. We never think about them as they are out of sight, out of mind and we think that roofs shed all of the water, “It ain’t necessarily so.”

  2. tadchem: Before I was born, one of our neighbors had two boys that fit the description of Asperger’s. This was over 30 years before DDT was invented. I suspect there may have been many more, but the term was not invented and they were simple lumped together with other “mental illnesses.”

  3. Developmental problems and autism are more likely the result of obese pregnancies than anything else. Essential nourishment is deposited in the fat tissues of overweight mothers, as well as restricting blood supply before it ever reaches the fetus. My Genius MD daughter’s theory–as plausible as any think else that I’ve heard.

  4. My father and grandfather would have disagreed. They both had Asperger’s (as do I) before it even had a name, and before aerial spraying for mosquitoes with DDT was developed.
    When the ‘effect’ precedes the ’cause’, the imputed cause is wrong.

  5. So, we will have the same number of autism cases, and more kids with little heads?
    Well, they will probably for for the “sciency” party anyway.

  6. When they use the words “may”, “might”, “suggests”, “could” and any other weasel words, liberals believe they can publish anything. They have covered themselves legally should the statement turn out to be wrong. The use of these words in any study tells you that they “just don’t know!”

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