Pesticides are bad for kids’ brains.
That’s not news to most of us. But a new report prepared for the European Parliament, co-authored by Harvard Chan School’s Philippe Grandjean, adjunct professor of environmental health, confirms it, once again: If health is a priority for you, and especially for your children, make your way to the organic section in your supermarket.
From an article published on the Harvard School of Public Health website:
Authorities in both the European Union and the United States insist that current limits on the amount of pesticides in conventional produce are adequate to ensure that it’s perfectly safe. But those limits are based on animal studies, looking at the effect of one pesticide at a time. The human brain is so much more complex than the rat brain, and our brain development is much more vulnerable because there are so many processes that have to happen at the right time and in the right sequence—you can’t go back and do them over.
Three long-term birth cohort studies in the U.S. suggest that pesticides are harming children’s brains. In these studies, researchers found that women’s exposure to pesticides during pregnancy, measured through urine samples, was associated with negative impacts on their children’s IQ and neurobehavioral development, as well as with ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] diagnoses. Also, one of the studies looked at structural brain growth using magnetic resonance imaging and found that the gray matter was thinner in children the higher their mothers’ exposure to organophosphates, which are used widely in pesticides. I think that’s quite scary.
Scary, indeed. Especially in the U.S., where the government agencies charged with keeping our food safe could soon be gutted.