Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 18, pp 18267–18290 | Cite as

Effects of prenatal and postnatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides on child neurodevelopment in different age groups: a systematic review

  • Ratana SapbamrerEmail author
  • Surat Hongsibsong
Research Article


Exposure to pesticides is a major factor in the cause of dysfunction in the nervous system and neurodevelopment disorders in children at critical periods of great vulnerability. The aim of this study was to review scientific evidence published on neurodevelopmental effects of prenatal and postnatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides (OPs) in different stages, including neonates, infants, toddlers, preschool children, and school-age children. Full-text articles published in PubMed, Scopus, and ISI databases between 1973 and 2019 were reviewed and the scientific evidence was evaluated. Results: Fifty studies were eligible for inclusion in this quantitative synthesis. Fifteen of these papers evaluated the effects on neonates and infants, 18 on the effects on toddlers and preschool children, and 24 the effects on school-age children. Considerable evidence suggests that prenatal exposure to OPs contributes to child neurodevelopment disorders in all stages, whereas data about the effects of postnatal exposure are limited. Therefore, the available evidence supports the theory that sensitive time-windows occur prenatally rather than postnatally. Although 45 out of the total 50 selected articles found an association between OP exposure and child neurodevelopment, some of the evidence is controversial. A standardized methodology is needed to enable the comparison of the results in several studies, and further research studies are needed to warrant firmer conclusions. A systematic review of this evidence should be performed continuously to update the state of knowledge regarding neurodevelopmental effects associated with OP exposure.


Organophosphate Children Neurodevelopment Neurobehavioral Neurotoxicity Insecticide Pesticide 



The authors thank the Research Administration Section, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University for their assistance with the English language editing.

Funding information

This study was financially supported by the Faculty of Medicine Research Fund, Chiang Mai University (Grant no.059/2562).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of MedicineChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  2. 2.Environment and Health Research UnitResearch Institute for Health SciencesChiang MaiThailand

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