Pesticide residue – specifically, a group of chemicals common in many pesticides called organophosphate metabolites -- detected in pregnant women led to increased risks of “adverse mental development” in children years after exposure, finds a new report commissioned by European Parliament.
By age two, children exposed in utero showed signs of delayed mental development; at ages three-and-a-half and five-year-old, there were signs of attention problems; and at seven, the children showed signs of “poorer intellection development.”
The EU report also looked at other recent research on pesticide exposure and found that an estimated 13 million IQ points are lost amongst EU citizens annually as a direct result of pesticide exposure, costing the EU approximately $140 billion annually (€125bn). But that number may be much higher, says the Independent, as the report “failed to take into account the possible impact of pesticides on diseases like Parkinson’s, diabetes and some types of cancer.”
Parliament questioned the regulatory process for pesticides despite the current risk assessments conducted on pesticides, “important gaps remain," they said.
"At least 100 different pesticides … [are] known to cause adverse neurological effects in adults and all of these substances must therefore be suspected of being capable of damaging developing brains as well," they added.
Consumption of organic food is linked to a decreased risk of developmental issues, notes the researchers, and the “potential risks to human health are largely avoided.”
The report also found environmental benefits in choosing organic food. It also found a link between organic food consumption and decreased risk of allergic diseases as well as “potential benefits for overweight or obesity people.”
Pesticide use has also been linked to declining bee populations worldwide, in a condition known as colony collapse disorder. The EU restricted the use of certain pesticides in the neonicotinoid class for their connection to poor bee health.
A recent report found the global herbicide market will hit more than $34 billion by 2022. It surpassed $23 billion in 2016.
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