Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pesticide exposure affects boys more than girls

Chlorpyrifos is still widely used
in the agricultural industry
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
On August 3, 2012, we posted a blog entry on how exposure to pesticides during pregnancy can affect fetuses.  A new study now reveals more details on the side effects of these toxic chemicals.

The Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) has found that the insecticide chlorpyrifos affects boys and girls differently.

When comparing seven-year old boys and girls, the CCCEH determined that boys had more difficulty with their memory, which inevitably affected their IQ levels.

What it does

Chlorpyrifos was widely used in pesticides within the home until 2001, when the EPA restricted indoor use. 

This chemical is an endocrine disruptor, which interferes with the body’s hormones. The most common side effects of endocrine disruptors are developmental disabilities, such as attention deficit disorder, learning difficulties and even physical birth defects.

This study has been carried out at a few different levels. Earlier this year, it was shown that even low to moderate exposure to chlorpyrifos could have irreversible, adverse effects on babies’ brains.

The most recent study has focused on how different genders react to the same chemical. Dr. Megan Horton led the study where 335 mother-child pairs signed up to partake in the research.  After testing their home environment at age three, researchers tested the kids’ IQ at age seven. The boys’ IQ were, on average, three points below the girls’.

Chlorpyrifos’ reach

Though the EPA restricted the use of this chemical within the home, it is still widely used in commercial and agricultural sectors.  Farmers continue to use it for food and feed crops. Some parks and golf courses also use it. The lumber industry sometimes uses chlorpyrifos to treat wood.

People living in agricultural areas may be at risk of inhaling this chemical, thereby potentially affecting their unborn children. It is also possible to ingest it while eating fruit that have been sprayed with the insecticide, so caution is strongly advised.

Do you still use pesticides in your home? If you do, does this article change your mind about using them? If you no longer do, share your alternative solutions with us!

Source: Science Daily

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Though there is not too much to be done about your exposure to chemical substances out in the open, there are ways to limit how these chemicals can affect you within your home.   

If you live in an agricultural community, where a lot of pesticides are used, it is a good idea to invest in an air purifier to improve your indoor air quality. 

Even when windows and doors are kept closed, toxins get trapped inside the house, resulting in poor indoor air quality.

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