Pesticides that are destroying our brains

Image of man spraying herbicide in a field

“While there are many sources of exposure to toxic chemicals, the use of organophosphates (OPs) is making news once again for the damage it causes to children’s brains.

A group of environmental and public health researchers from the U.S. and Canada suggest prenatal exposure to OPs is putting children at risk for behavioral and cognitive deficits, as well as neurodevelopmental disorders. For this reason, they are calling for a global phaseout of these toxic chemicals, among other measures.”

  • A class of pesticides called organophosphates (OPs) has been implicated for the brain-destroying health risks — such as attention and memory deficits, autism and lower IQs — they present to children

  • A meta-analysis of OP data from 71 countries suggests these chemicals should be banned due to the significant health threat they pose to children and pregnant women

  • Pesticide regulations vary widely worldwide and are not always well enforced; chemicals banned in one country can be exported elsewhere

  • In the U.S., the safety of an OP called chlorpyrifos, produced by Dow Chemical Company, is being hotly debated even though it is known to be highly toxic

  • The Trump administration is in the process of rolling back the age limits on restricted-use pesticides, including chlorpyrifos, to allow workers as young as 16 to spray the toxic chemicals

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