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Boys’ Brains More Vulnerable to Insecticide

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Nicholas Wills5 years ago

Studies indicate that a common and powerful insecticide affects brain development in children, specifically with short-term memory and IQ levels, news outlets report.

Wide Usage of the Insecticide Lorsban

Chlorpyrifos, otherwise known as “Lorsban” by the Dow Trade, is an organophosphate insecticide – a powerful class of pesticides used on crops and other places to kill insects. Lorsban was previously used in homes to kill cockroaches and other insects, but was banned by the EPA in 2001 because of its health risks to children.

Lorsban’s use includes: 

  • Golf courses to kill mosquito populations.
  • Crops including fruit trees and vegetables – specifically corn, cotton, citrus and nut trees, alfalfa, grapes and other crops.
  • Formerly in U.S. residences to kill cockroaches and other insects.
  • Currently used in developing countries’ households.

Studies Show Lorsban's Effects on Children’s Brains

  • Linked to delayed mental and motor skill development.
  • IQs and memories were reduced in 7-year-olds with higher prenatal exposure.
  • On average, children with higher exposures scored 5.3 points lower on short-term memory test, and 2.7 points lower on IQ tests
  • In Salinas Valley, California, Latino children whose mothers had the highest exposures to organophosphates, including chlorpyrifos, had a 7-point drop in IQ compared to children of moms with the lowest exposures.
  • A study monitoring 40 children, 6 to 11 years old, with low to high exposure to Lorsban, found that those with high exposures had more abnormalities in regions of the brain associated with memory.
Boys vs. Girls: Researchers Highlight Gender Differences
  • Boys scored on average three points lower than girls with the same exposure rates.
  • A 2012 study of rats indicates that pesticides reduced testosterone level. Testosterone plays a critical role in brain development in males
Efforts to Discontinue Usage of Lorsban

According to Environmental Health News, Virginia Ruiz, the director of occupational and environmental health for Farmworker Justice, said that chlorpyrifos (Lorsban) is one of the most dangerous pesticides that farmworkers are exposed to.  Ruiz' group is pushing to end all uses of the chemical as soon as possible.

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