Pesticides, ubiquitous among not only the food supply but farms and homes worldwide, have been found to be creating lasting changes in overall brain structure — changes that have been linked to lower intelligence levels and decreased cognitive function. Previously linked in scientific research to the massive obesity crisis, pesticides are now known to impact the mind in ways that are still not entirely understood. Despite these findings, they are continually touted as safe by the profit-hungry chemical industry.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, observed pregnant mothers in New York who were exposed to a pesticide known as chlorpyrifos (CPF). Banned in 2001 from household use, the chemical is still used worldwide in agriculture. That’s right, this is a chemical that is not permitted to be used in your home, though it is perfectly fine to spray on your food. What the researchers found was that women who had higher levels of CPF had children with “significant abnormalities” in brain structure compared to mothers with lower exposure levels.
Perhaps the most startling finding by the academic team is that all of the women in the study, of which there were 369 total, were actually below the US established thresholds of acute exposure. Therefore, even low to moderate levels of exposure can seriously impact brain function. A large amount of exposure could be even more dangerous and destructive.
Lead researcher Virginia Rauh, a professor at the Mailman School of Public Health, summarized the findings:
“Toxic exposure during this critical period can have far-reaching effects on brain development and behavioral functioning.”
The findings will certainly cause a ripple in the pesticide industry, though the larger issue is why this pesticide is being used in your food after it was banned from being used indoors. If the pesticide is damaging by simply being used in the same living space as human, how could it be considered safe to put into your body?