History of Chlorpyrifos
Despites claims by Dow AgroSciences that chlorpyrifos is safe and effective for use in protecting food crops from insect damage, years of research suggests that the chemical is a potential “neurotoxin,” meaning it may cause a loss of intelligence, as well as devastating birth defects, neurological deficits and brain damage with human exposure. According to recent reports, chlorpyrifos has the potential to cause “serious, irreversible” damage to a developing fetus, even at low concentrations that may pose little to no danger to the mother, which may result in “severely and permanently disabled and mentally damaged children.”
The potential link between chlorpyrifos and birth defects in babies exposed to the pesticide during pregnancy has been studied for decades. In 1996, a study published in the Archives of Environmental Health noted “Extensive and unusual patterns of birth defects” in children exposed to chlorpyrifos in utero, including “defects of the brain, eyes, ears, palate, teeth, heart, feet, nipples, and genitalia.” The researchers involved in this study concluded that the “pattern of defects […] may represent a heretofore unrecognized syndrome that should be considered when Dursban-exposed women have children with birth defects.”
In 2006, a study published in the journal Pediatrics found a link between prenatal chlorpyrifos exposure and neurological and behavioral development problems, like “developmental delays and disorders, attention problems, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder at three years of age.” In 2014, an article highlighting “The Toxins that Threaten Our Brains” named chlorpyrifos among the 12 chemicals found in the environment and in everyday items like clothing and furniture that experts believe may be causing “not just lower IQs but ADHD and autism spectrum disorder” due to its potential effects on fetal brain development.