Do organophosphate pesticides affect the human brain?
According to a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, U.S. researchers reported last week that children whose mothers were exposed to certain types of pesticides while pregnant were more likely to have attention problems as they grew up.
Researchers found that women with more traces of pesticides in their urine while pregnant had children more likely to have symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at age 5.
Organophosphates are designed to attack the nervous system by affecting message-carrying chemicals called neurotransmitters, including acetylcholine, which is important to human brain development.
Few symptoms showed up at age 3, but by age 5, the trend, which was stronger in boys, was significant.
Back in May, a different team found children with high levels of organophosphate traces in the urine were almost twice as likely to develop ADHD as those with undetectable levels.
In the U.S., there are 40 registered organophosphate pesticides, including malathion. Studies have also linked pesticide exposure to Parkinson’s, an incurable brain disease.
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