Navigation Links
Insecticide Linked to Brain Abnormalities in Kids

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 30 (HealthDay News) -- A new, small study links maternal exposure to a commonly used insecticide to unusual changes in the brain structures of young children, although the research doesn't definitely prove that the pesticide is at fault.

The findings raise more questions about the safety of the insecticide, known as chlorpyrifos, which is used to treat farm products in the United States but has been almost entirely banned in homes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says exposure to the insecticide in children through food is "below the level of concern."

"People should wash their fruits and vegetables very carefully before eating, and pregnant women should not be working in agricultural settings where there might be an occupational exposure," said study lead author Virginia Rauh, deputy director of the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at Columbia University.

Chlorpyrifos is widely used to kill insects on farms. "It is used on corn, many types of fruits, many types of leafy green vegetables and cotton," Rauh said. "It's also used for a variety of other commercial purposes -- as a spray to control pests on golf courses, road medians, Christmas tree farms and at various other places." People are often exposed through insecticide residue on fruits and vegetables, Rauh said.

Previous research has linked indoor residential exposure in pregnant mothers to lower birth weights. "We found evidence that there was poorer cognitive [mental] development and potentially more behavior problems in kids who were exposed," Rauh said.

In the new study, the researchers used MRI machines to scan the brains of 40 children aged 5 to 11 years. The mothers of 20 of them had high levels of exposure to the insecticide while they were pregnant with the children.

The mothers of the other 20 kids had low levels of exposure. The brains of the kids with high exposure were more likely to have certain enlarged structures in the brain. They also had thinning in some parts of the brain.

Rauh acknowledged that the study doesn't prove a direct cause-and-effect link between the insecticide and the differences in the brains between the children. One possibility is that the mothers of the children had different diets or were exposed to other chemicals in their homes or workplaces, but Rauh said they share one similarity: Most came from a low-income section of Manhattan and almost all were poor.

The findings are worrisome because the differences in brain structure appear to be harmful, she said. "An abnormal enlargement would not necessarily be a good thing."

In addition, there are links between the sizes of parts of the brain and problems with behavior and thinking, she said.

At the moment, Rauh said, she and her colleagues are studying whether they can link exposure to the insecticide to long-lasting changes in behavior in kids at ages 9 and 10.

Dr. Bruce Lanphear, a professor of health sciences who studies environmental risks at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, praised the study but acknowledged it doesn't prove the insecticide is harmful. However, he said, "even though this paper is not the final word, it builds on existing studies that basically say [author] Rachel Carson was right: Widespread exposure to toxins is likely to cause fairly severe disease."

He asked: "Are we willing to sacrifice our children's brains for profits? That's the choice we're making, whether we know it or not."

Study lead author Rauh said one way to avoid pesticides is to eat organic food, but it's expensive. It's smart to wash produce carefully, she said, and use less-toxic ways to control pests around the house, such as bait traps.

Stephanie Engel, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, put it this way: "The general lesson here is that the dangers that chemicals pose to child development are not always understood. These children were exposed during a period when chlorpyrifos was deemed safe for residential use. So it just makes good sense for pregnant women to be cautious about the chemicals they use during pregnancy. Even ones that we are told are 'safe' may later turn out to be harmful."

The study appears online April 30 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More information

For more about the insecticide chlorpyrifos, try the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

SOURCES: Virginia A. Rauh, professor of clinical population and family health and deputy director, Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health, and Departments of Environmental Health Sciences and Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York City; Bruce Lanphear, professor of health sciences, M.D., MPHTM, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia; Stephanie Engel, Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; April 30, 2012, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Bed Bug Insecticides Causing Sickness, Officials Warn
2. Prenatal exposure to common insecticide linked to decreases in cognitive functioning at age 7
3. Common insecticide used in homes associated with delayed mental development of young children
4. Genetics, Insecticides Might Contribute to Parkinsons
5. Proteins in unroasted coffee beans may become next-generation insecticides
6. Leaded Gas Exposure Linked to Later Violence: Study
7. Thyroid Condition Linked to Heart Problems: Study
8. Specific protein triggers changes in neurons in brain reward center linked to cocaine addiction
9. Depression Linked to Higher Odds for Poor Leg Circulation
10. Cellular pathway linked to diabetes, heart disease
11. Killing in war linked with suicidal thoughts among Vietnam veterans, study finds
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Insecticide Linked to Brain Abnormalities in Kids
(Date:11/25/2015)... Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... advanced da Vinci surgical robot is being more and more widely heralded as a ... robotic assisted da Vinci method has over traditional laparoscopic surgery is that it can ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... IL (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... The ... announce a recent successful appellate decision obtained by Attorneys Francisco J. Botto and Alex ... Adcock v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Comm’n, 2015 IL App (2d) 130884WC. , According to ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 25, 2015 , ... Brillianteen, McGaw YMCA’s student-produced musical show, ... 65th Anniversary Brillianteen Revue, scheduled for March 4-6, 2016. Auditions for this final ... has been a treasured tradition for numerous families in the Evanston community. Over ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Spring, Md (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 ... ... Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) announces the nation’s Periwinkle Pioneers, individuals and groups responsible ... history of this disease. The Periwinkle Pioneers, nominated by the public, will receive ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 25, 2015 , ... Bcureful—a non-profit organization devoted to advancing ... public awareness of the disorder while helping to bring expert medical care and ... bolster progress at the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Center at Ann & Robert H. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... Frankreich, November 25, 2015 ... dass sie eine Lizenz für das Patent über eine ... UCBL und ENS-Lyon innehaben, an Enyo Pharma vergeben haben. ... AAP8 ins Leben gerufenen und von Edelris gemeinsam mit ... als ein Behandlungsziel für HBV identifiziert, und es wurden ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... The hope of bearing a ... IVF cycles. After failure of over 15 IVF cycles, ... all hopes that she would be able to conceive ever. But finally optimism prevailed as ... failure of over 15 IVF cycles. ... take one last attempt with Gaudium IVF Center in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015  Thanks to a donor with a personal ... Center,s Sister Diane Grassilli Center for Women,s Health now ... San Francisco . Fred ... with a gift of $617,320 that allowed the Center ... Tomosynthesis and Whole Breast Ultrasound. Tomosynthesis, three-dimensional (3-D) mammography ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: