Pesticides Slow Childhood Development

Research continues to poor in about the harmful effects that chemical pesticides have on humans and the environment. The latest sudy shows how a specific pesticide used in various agricultural settings is linked with delaying childhood development. Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health have found an association between exposure to the pesticide Chlorpyrifos and diminished childhood developmental capabilities. Chlorpyrifos was banned from residential use in 2001 but continues to be widely used in agricultural applications such as fruits and vegetables Lead author of the study, Gina Lovasi explained that “this study helps to fill in the gaps about what is known about the effect of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on the development of young children by showing that there is a clear-cut association between this chemical and delayed mental and motor skill development in children even when there are other potentially harmful environmental factors present.” “Although this pesticide has been banned for residential use in the United States, chlorpyrifos and other organophosphorus insecticides are still commonly used for a variety of agricultural purposes,” explained study co-author Virginia Rauh, ScD, co-deputy director for the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health, and professor of clinical population and family health. “We hope that the results of this study, further demonstrating the neurotoxicity of chlorpyrifos under a range of community conditions, may inform public health professionals and policy-makers about the potential hazards of exposure to this chemical for pregnant women and young children.”

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