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The findings of a new study present more evidence exposure to chlorpyrifos and similar pesticides may increase the risk of developmental delays among children under five years old.
Researchers from Thailand report postnatal chlorpyrifos exposure increases the risk of developmental delays by nearly a factor of six. The findings, which still await peer review, were published on December 23 by F1000Research.com.
Chlorpyrifos was first put into use in 1965. Although use of the product in household settings was banned amid concerns about health risks in 2001, it is still used on more than 40,000 farms nationally for 50 different types of crops, including grapes and almonds. It has been sold under a variety of brand names, including Dursban and Lorsban, as well as Scout, Empire, Eradex, and Warhawk.
In a study published in 2014, chlorpyrifos was added to a list of 11 chemicals identified as developmental neurotoxins, with widespread damaging affects to developing brains and reducing intelligence. Researchers indicated chlorpyrifos, along with other chemicals, may cause neurodevelopmental disabilities in children, including autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia.
In this latest study, researchers looked at data on prenatal and postnatal exposure among 442 children, ages 0 to 5, with suspected developmental delays. They were compared to 413 children with normal development.
According to the findings, overall chlorpyrifos exposure increases the risk of developmental delay nearly four-fold. However, postnatal exposure increased that risk by nearly six-fold.
Other pesticides, including glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, and subject to numerous Roundup cancer lawsuits, as well as paraquat, butachlor, methyl parathion, savin, and others also had a positive association, but none were statistically significant, according to the researchers.
“This case-control study found that chlorpyrifos and some other pesticide exposure during pregnancy was positively associated with developmental delay in children aged under 5 years,” the researchers concluded. “Further research should be conducted to better understand this potential effect of pesticides on child neurodevelopment, and the public – especially those who plan to have families – should be informed.”
In July 2019, the EPA made a controversial decision to allow chlorpyrifos to stay on the market in the United States, despite numerous objections and studies linking the pesticide to serious health risks. Since then, several states have either filed complaints against the EPA over the decision, or say they plan to do so.
California has already moved to ban the pesticide, with restrictions on chlorpyrifos already in effect since January 2019.
In recent months, courts nationwide have seen an influx of chlorpyrifos lawsuits over the alleged side effects of the controversial pesticide.