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Ban Entire Pesticide Class to Protect Children's Health, Experts Say

Evidence is ‘compelling’ that organophosphates increase risk of reduced IQs, memory and attention deficits, and autism for prenatal children

Evidence that an entire class of pesticides threatens the health of children and pregnant women is now so arresting that the substances should be banned, an expert panel of toxicologists has said.

Exposure to organophosphates (OPs) increases the risk of reduced IQs, memory and attention deficits, and autism for prenatal children, according to the paper, published in Plos Medicine.

More than 10,000 tonnes of OP pesticides are sprayed in 24 European countries each year and usage is higher in the US, where the Trump administration is appealing against a federal court ban on chlorpyrifos, one of the most popular agricultural insecticides.

Irva Hertz-Picciotto, the paper’s lead author and director of the UC Davis environmental health sciences centre, said: “We have compelling evidence from dozens of human studies that exposures of pregnant women to very low levels of organophosphate pesticides put children and foetuses at risk for developmental problems that may last a lifetime.

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