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Seasonal effects of water quality: The hidden costs of the Green Revolution to infant and child health in India
Authors: Elizabeth Brainerd, and Nidhiya Menon
Source: Journal of Development Economics, 107: 49-64; DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2013.11.004
Topic(s): Child health
Infant mortality
Country: Asia
Published: MAR 2014
Abstract: This paper examines the impact of fertilizer agrichemicals in water on infant and child health using water quality data combined with data on child health outcomes from the Demographic and Health Surveys of India. Because fertilizers are applied at specific times in the growing season, the concentrations of agrichemicals in water vary seasonally and by cropped area as some Indian states plant predominantly summer crops while others plant winter crops. Our identification strategy exploits the differing timing of the planting seasons across states and differing seasonal prenatal exposure to agrichemicals to identify the impact of agrichemical contamination on various measures of child health. The results indicate that children exposed to higher concentrations of agrichemicals during their first month experience worse health outcomes on a variety of measures; these effects are largest among the most vulnerable groups, particularly the children of uneducated poor women living in rural India.