Pesticides and Damaged Brains
Despite its ban for indoor use several years ago, Chlorpyrifos remains common in agriculture and other outdoor applications. An investigative report by New York Times columnist Nicolas Kristof decries this pesticide, deeming it a significant public health risk.
A 1995 report by Miller and Mitzel demonstrates that pesticide exposure is most often associated with the development of chemical intolerance (CI). Compared to those who developed CI due to home remodeling, those who developed CI as a result of pesticide exposure reported significantly greater severities in neuromuscular, affective, airway, gastrointestinal, and cardiac symptoms.
Abundant in air, food, and water, Chlorpyrifos is known to reduce IQ scores and damage developing brain cells in children. It has also been linked to Parkinson’s disease and lung cancer. While we encourage daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the Environmental Protection Agency has found levels up to 140 times the safety limits in foods. Children, the elderly, and those with chemical intolerances are the most vulnerable to these exposures.
The current administration recently overturned a proposal to ban its use for outdoor and agricultural purposes. This victory for Dow Chemicals, the maker of this pesticide, left public health experts outraged, in large part because of Dow’s reputation for contributing significant amounts of money to political campaigns and lobbying against critical safety regulations. From a public health standpoint, these political actions are egregious.