Public health experts have found that there is sufficient evidence that prenatal exposure to commonly used insecticides called organophosphates puts…
Public health experts have found that there is sufficient evidence that prenatal exposure to commonly used insecticides called organophosphates puts at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders.
In a scientific review and call for action published in PLOS Medicine ] the researchers immediately call for state intervention to discontinue all organophosphates.
“There is convincing evidence that exposure of pregnant women to very low levels of organophosphate pesticides is associated with lower IQ and difficulty in learning, memory or attention in their children,” said lead author Irva Hertz-Picciotto, professor of public health science, head of the UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center and researcher at the UC Davis MIND Institute.
“Although a single organophosphate ̵
1; chloropyrifos – has been in the national spotlight, our review means the whole class of these compounds,” added Hertz-Picciotto.
Orientally developed as nerve guns and weapons of war, organophosphates are used today to fight insects at farms, golf courses, malls and schools. They kill pests by blocking nerve signals.
People can come into contact with these chemicals through the food they eat, the water they drink and the air they breathe. As a result, organophosphate pesticides are detected in most American residents, according to Hertz-Picciotto.
Increased risks even at low exposures
While existing limits for organophosphates have reduced exposure, the review authors said this was not enough. Based on more than 30 epidemiological studies and number of experimental studies in animals and cell cultures, the evidence is apparent: Exposure to organophosphates prior to birth, even at levels currently considered safe, is associated with poorer cognitive, behavioral and social development. 19659003] “It should not be surprising that studies confirm that these chemicals change brain development because they were originally intended to affect the central nervous system,” says Hertz-Picciotto.
Despite increasing evidence of injuries and recommendations from scientific advisors to and researchers in the US Environmental Protection Agency, many organic phosphates remain in use. This may be due in part to the fact that low levels of ongoing exposures do not usually cause visible short-term clinical symptoms, leading to the incorrect assumption that these exposures are insignificant according to Hertz-Picciotto.
“Acute poisoning is tragic, but the studies we reviewed suggest that the effects of low-level chronic exposures on brain function continue through childhood and adolescents and can be lifelong, which is also tragic, explained Hertz-Picciotto.  Child Protection Recommendations
In addition to conducting the scientific review, the authors offered recommendations for significantly reducing organophosphate exposures, including: