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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Developmental Disorders' Category


20
Dec

Bee-Killing Pesticides Damage Children’s Brain and Nervous System, Says European Authority

(Beyond Pesticides, December 20, 2013) The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announced on Tuesday that pesticides linked to honey bee deaths worldwide may also damage human nervous systems ””in particular the brain, and recommended that the European Commission lower the guidance levels of acceptable exposure until more research is conducted. This new determination heightens the call to ban the use of these toxic chemicals in the U.S., following the lead of the European Union (EU). EFSA found that two commonly used chemicals “may adversely affect the development of neurons and brain structure associated with functions such as learning and memory” particularly of children. The recommendation focuses on two chemicals ””acetamiprid and imidacloprid”” in a relatively new class of insecticide called neonicotinoids. Three chemicals in this class were recently placed under a two-year ban in the European Union (EU) for uses on flowering crops known to attract honey bees. The move stems from a recent review of research on rats which found, “Neonicotinoids may adversely affect human health, especially the developing brain.” Researchers who exposed newborn rats to one of these chemicals ””imidacloprid”” found they suffered brain shrinkage, fewer nerve signals controlling movement, and weight loss. Another study on rats found […]

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01
Nov

Behavioral and Emotional Problems in Children Linked to Insecticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2013) Insecticides commonly used in homes and schools are associated with behavioral problems in children, according to a recent study by Canadian researchers. The study investigates exposure to pyrethroid pesticides, used in more than 3,500 products, including flea and tick controls, cockroach sprays, and head lice controls. The study, Urinary metabolites of organophosphates and pyrethroid pesticides and behavioral problems in Canadian children, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, raises serious concerns about the impact of pyrethroids, which are increasingly used as a replacement for organophosphates. This study uses data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (2007-2009), a nationally representative survey, so researchers are able to apply these findings to the entire population of Canadian children. In a previous study among U.S. children, researchers at the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) examined the metabolites of pyrethroids in children below the age of six. Similarly, they found pyrethroid insecticides in more than 70 percent of the samples, concluding that children had significantly higher metabolite concentrations than those of adolescents. Together these studies demonstrate that exposure is widespread, with real impacts to human health. In the recent study, researchers analyzed organophosphate and pyrethroid metabolites in the […]

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24
Apr

Study Exposes Multi-generational Impacts of Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2013) Using the aquatic species Daphnia, commonly referred to as “water fleas,” scientists at North Carolina State University (NC State) determined that exposure to the pesticide pyriproxyfen impacted multiple generations, ultimately resulting in more male offspring, and causing reproductive problems in female offspring. Lead author Gerald LeBlanc, PhD, notes, “This work supports the hypothesis that exposure to some environmental chemicals during sensitive periods of development can cause significant health problems for those organisms later in life —and affect their offspring and, possibly, their offspring’s offspring.” The study, published in the journal PLoS One, provides the scientific community with new information on how organisms respond to the environmental signals resulting from pesticide exposure. Environmental cues normally determine whether the Daphina offspring will be male or female, according to the researchers. This study is part of an investigation to understand the mechanisms involved with these environmental cues. The NC State team had previously identified the hormone methyl farnesoate (Mf) as an important factor in determining the sex of the organisms at the embryotic stage. The scientists exposed Daphnia to varying levels of the pesticide pyriproxyfen, an insecticide that mimics the Mf hormone. The exposure resulted in Daphnia producing […]

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10
Dec

Study Reveals: Organophosphate Pesticides Cause Lasting Damage to Brain and Nervous System

(Beyond Pesticides, December 10, 2012) Long-term low-level exposure to organophosphate pesticides produces lasting damage to neurological and cognitive functions, according to researchers at University College London (UCL). This research pulls data from 14 studies over the past 20 years, including more than 1,600 participants, in order to provide a quantitative analysis of the current literature on these dangerous chemicals. Lead author of the study, Sarah Mackenzie Ross, Ph.D., notes, “This is the first time anyone has analyzed the literature concerning the neurotoxicity of organophosphate pesticides, using the statistical technique of meta-analysis.” UCL’s systematic review, published in the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology, comes to an unsettling conclusion about the hazards of constant low-level occupational exposure to organophosphates. The study notes, “The majority of well designed studies found a significant association between low-level exposure to [organophosphates] and impaired neurobehavioral function which is consistent, small to moderate in magnitude and concerned primarily with cognitive functions such as psychomotor speed, executive function, visuospatial ability, working and visual memory.” In other words, low-level exposure had significant detrimental effect on working memory and information processing. The researchers are hopeful that the results of their analysis will be used to inform governments performing reviews on the […]

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10
Aug

New Research Suggests Boys More Vulnerable to Effects of Chlorpyrifos Than Girls

(Beyond Pesticides, August 10, 2012) A new study is the first to find a difference between how boys and girls respond to prenatal exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos. Researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) at the Mailman School of Public Health found that, at age 7, boys had greater difficulty with working memory, a key component of IQ, than girls with similar exposures. On the plus side, having nurturing parents improved working memory, especially in boys, although it did not lessen the negative cognitive effects of exposure to the chemical. Results are published online in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology. In 2011, research led by Virginia Rauh, ScD, Co-Deputy Director of CCCEH, established a connection between prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos and deficits in working memory and IQ at age 7. Earlier this year, a follow-up study showed evidence in MRI scans that even low to moderate levels of exposure during pregnancy may lead to long-term, potentially irreversible changes in the brain. The latest study, led by Megan Horton, PhD, explored the impact of sex differences and the home environment on these health outcomes. Dr. Horton and colleagues looked at a subset of 335 mother-child pairs enrolled […]

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15
Jun

New Research Confirms Neurotoxicity of Pesticide Synergist PBO

(Beyond Pesticides, June 15, 2012) Researchers at the Duke University School of Medicine have developed a laboratory screening system for detecting neurotoxic chemicals and successfully tested it on more than 1,400 potential toxicants. The study confirms the high toxic activity of the chemical piperonyl butoxide (PBO), a chemical “synergist” used to increase the potency of more than 700 insecticides, including synthetic pyrethroids widely used in mosquito and community spray programs and for home use. The study, entitled “The Insecticide Synergist Piperonyl Butoxide Inhibits Hedgehog Signaling: Assessing Chemical Risks,” was published in the May 2012 edition of the journal Toxicological Sciences. The testing shows that PBO disrupts a biological signaling system that is “critical in neurological development,” the researchers reported in the abstract of their paper. The study finds that the disruption of this critical pathway “may be the molecular basis for profound developmental defects in children exposed in utero to PBO.” Piperonyl butoxide is not itself classified as a pesticide, but companies combine it with insecticides to increase their potency. PBO came into widespread use when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) phased out chlorpyrifos and other organophosphate pesticides nearly a decade ago after determining that they posed a risk […]

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02
May

In-Utero Pesticide Exposures Linked to Brain Abnormalities

(Beyond Pesticides, May 2, 1012) New research published online at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that babies exposed in the womb to a commonly used insecticide have brain abnormalities after birth. The insecticide, chlorpyrifos (used in agriculture, mosquito control, and golf course management) , is well documented as inducing neurodevelopmental abnormalities in infants exposed in their mother’s womb, including ADHD, cognitive deficits, and serious learning, behavioral or emotional disorders. Entitled, “Brain anomalies in children exposed prenatally to a common organophosphate pesticide,” the study investigated associations between chlorpyrifos exposure and brain morphology using magnetic resonance imaging in 40 New York City children. It found significant associations of prenatal exposure, at standard use levels, with structural changes in the developing human brain, including enlargement of superior temporal, posterior middle temporal, and enlarged superior frontal gyrus, gyrus rectus, cuneus, and precuneus along the mesial wall of the right hemisphere. These areas of the brain impacted are related to attention, language, reward systems, emotions and control may be affected by the chemical. Twenty high-exposure children (upper third of chlorpyrifos concentrations in umbilical cord blood) were compared with 20 low-exposure children. The children, ages 6-11 years, considered to have a high […]

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