A collaborative new study by the Harvard School of Public Health, (HSPH), and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinau revealed that toxic chemicals may be the root of neurological disorders including autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia.
- Manganese is associated with diminished intellectual function and impaired motor skills
- Solvents are linked to hyperactivity and aggressive behavior
- Certain types of pesticides may cause cognitive delays
Grandjean and co-author Philip Landrigan, Dean for Global Health at Mount Sinai, suggest that the results showcase a silent pandemic of chemicals that contribute to neuro-behavioral deficits that are eroding intelligence, disrupting behaviors, and damaging societies. They recognize that controlling the pandemic is difficult because of a scarcity of data to guide prevention and the huge amount of proof needed for government regulation.“The problem is international in scope, and the solution must therefore also be international,” said Grandjean. “We have the methods in place to test industrial chemicals for harmful effects on children’s brain development — now is the time to make that testing mandatory.”The latest US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) information on US pesticide usage, from 2007, reports that over 1 billion tons of pesticides are used in the US every year. This is 22% of the estimated 5.2 billion pounds of pesticides used worldwide. Agricultural use accounted for 80% of pesticide use in the US. Of the pesticide classes, herbicides are the most widely used in all US sectors.
The Environmental Working Group compiles a yearly list of fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residues, based on USDA and FDA testing data. The current top 12 are:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Nectarines (imported)
A new study published by the UNC School of Medicine has indicated that a class of commonly used fungicides produce gene expression changes that affect the brain and produce neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease. Chemicals that were analyzed included the pesticides rotenone, pyridaben, and fenpyroximate, and a new class of fungicides that includes pyraclostrobin, trifloxystrobin, fenamidone, and famoxadone. Azoxystrobin, fluoxastrobin, and kresoxim-methyl.
- Philippe Grandjean, Philip Landrigan. Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity. Lancet Neurology, February 2014 DOI: 10.1016/S1474-4422(13)70278-3
- US Environmental Protection Agency. (2012). Pesticides and food: Healthy, sensible practices. Retrieved September 20, 2012
- Brandon L. Pearson, Jeremy M. Simon, Eric S. McCoy, Gabriela Salazar, Giulia Fragola, Mark J. Zylka. Identification of chemicals that mimic transcriptional changes associated with autism, brain aging and neurodegeneration. Nature Communications, 2016; 7: 11173 DOI:10.1038/ncomms11173