A new study has turned up some disturbing evidence regarding the widely used pesticide, chlorpyrifos, and it's effect on kids' brains - particularly for boys.
Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide. It has been banned for residential use since 2001 because of the heath risks it presents for children. But the pesticide's residue is still persistent in the environment. In addition, it is still sprayed commercially on some agricultural crops, including fruit trees and vegetables, and is also used on golf courses and for mosquito control.
The study, published last month in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology
and reported on recently by Environmental Health News
followed 335 pairs of mothers and children that were part of a large group of families living in low-income neighborhoods in New York City that have been tracked by Columbia University scientists since the kids were born. Several years ago, researchers were able to test each child's umbilical cord blood after birth to determine exposure level to various chemicals - including chlorpyrifos. Now, as many of the children are reaching school age, researchers are able to link the effect of various levels of chlorpyrifos exposure with each child's short-term memory.
For the boys, prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos was associated with lower scores on short-term memory tests than girls who were exposed to similar levels of the pesticide. Scores were an average of three-points lower for boys than girls. These findings suggest that chlorpyrifos may harm boys’ developing brains more than girls’.