Pesticides can cause brain damage and organic food is the future, EU report says
Organic food contains fewer chemicals so may be healthier

Narjas Zatat <> @NtheodoraK 
<> a day ago1 comment 

The Independent Online

A display of organic tomatoes Getty Images
Eating food with high levels of pesticides has an adverse effect on the brain, 
according to a review of existing scientific evidence commissioned by the 
European Parliament <>. 
downloadable here:
The MEPs wanted to know whether organic food was healthier than conventionally 
grown crops and asked experts to look at the relevant research.

A report based on the review said a California study had found that children 
whose mothers had traces of organophosphate metabolites – the basis for many 
pesticides – during pregnancy were more likely to have “adverse mental 
development at two years of age, attention problems at three-and-a-half and 
five years, and poorer intellectual development at seven years". 

Another study calculated that an estimated 13 million IQ points a year are lost 
as a result of pesticides, which represents a loss of approximately €125bn 
(£109bn) across the European Union 

'Bee friendly' plants found to contain pesticides that harm them
The report suggested this figure was likely to be an under-estimation, as it 
failed to take into account the possible impact of pesticides on diseases like 
Parkinson’s, diabetes and some types of cancer.

The experts also raised concerns about pesticide regulation. While they undergo 
“a comprehensive risk assessment before market release … important gaps 
remain," they said.


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"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.

Organic food, however, contains low pesticide levels and the “potential risks 
to human health are largely avoided”.

Professor Ewa Rembiałkowska, of Warsaw University, said: “There are indications 
that organiccrops have a lower cadmium content than conventional crops due to 
differences in fertiliser use and soil organic matter, an issue that is highly 
relevant to human health. 

"Organic milk has a higher content of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids compared 
to conventional milk, although we cannot currently derive any specific health 
benefit from this.”

And Professor Johannes Kahl said: "We find that people who prefer organic food 
also have overall healthier dietary preferences, including more vegetables, 
fruits, and wholegrain products and less meat.

"These patterns are also favourable from the perspective of environmental 

The report concluded that there was a link between organic food consumption and 
a decreased risk of allergic diseases, as well as potential benefits for 
overweight or obesity people.

Some References for Negative Effects of Exposure to Pesticides on Cognitive  
and Brain Development of Children

The study (2006) commissioned by the EU Parliament  can be downloaded here: 

 Rauh, V.A., et al., Brain anomalies in children exposed prenatally to a common 
organophosphate pesticide. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2012. 109(20): p. 7871-6.
 Van Maele-Fabry, G., P. Hoet, and D. Lison, Parental occupational exposure to 
pesticides as risk factor for brain tumors in children and young adults: a 
systematic review and meta- analysis. Environ Int, 2013. 56: p. 19-31.

Grandjean, P. and P.J. Landrigan, Developmental neurotoxicity of industrial 
Lancet, 2006. 368(9553): p. 2167-78.
Bouchard, M.F., et al., Prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides and IQ 
in 7-year-old children. Environ Health Perspect, 2011. 119(8): p. 1189-95.
Engel, S.M., et al., Prenatal exposure to organophosphates, paraoxonase 1, and 
cognitive development in childhood. Environ Health Perspect, 2011. 119(8): p. 
Engel, S.M., et al., Prenatal exposure to organophosphates, paraoxonase 1, and 
cognitive development in childhood. Environ Health Perspect, 2011. 119(8): p. 

Rauh, V.A., et al., Impact of prenatal chlorpyrifos exposure on 
neurodevelopment in the first 3 years of life among inner-city children. 
Pediatrics, 2006. 118(6): p. e1845-e1859.

Rauh, V., et al., 7-Year Neurodevelopmental Scores and Prenatal Exposure to 
Chlorpyrifos, a Common Agricultural Pesticide. Environ.Health Perspect., 2011.

Rauh, V.A., et al., Brain anomalies in children exposed prenatally to a common 
organophosphate pesticide. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2012. 109(20): p. 7871-6.
 Grandjean, P. and P.J. Landrigan, Neurobehavioural effects of developmental 
toxicity. Lancet Neurol, 2014. 13(3): p. 330-8.

Gonzalez-Alzaga, B., et al., A systematic review of neurodevelopmental effects 
of prenatal and postnatal organophosphate pesticide exposure. Toxicol Lett, 
2014. 230(2): p. 104-21.

Ross, S.M., et al., Neurobehavioral problems following low-level exposure to 
organophosphate pesticides: a systematic and meta-analytic review. Crit Rev 
Toxicol, 2013.43(1): p. 21-44.

Munoz-Quezada, M.T., et al., Neurodevelopmental effects in children associated 
with exposure to organophosphate pesticides: A systematic review. 
Neurotoxicology, 2013. 39C: p.158-168.

Burns, C.J., et al., Pesticide exposure and neurodevelopmental outcomes: review 
of the epidemiologic and animal studies. J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev, 
2013. 16(3-4): p. 127- 283.

Bouchard, M.F., et al., Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and urinary 
metabolites of organophosphate pesticides. Pediatrics, 2010. 125(6): p. e1270-7.
Wagner-Schuman, M., et al., Association of pyrethroid pesticide exposure with 
attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder in a nationally representative sample 
of U.S. children. Environ Health, 2015. 14(1): p. 44.

Quiros-Alcala, L., S. Mehta, and B. Eskenazi, Pyrethroid pesticide exposure and 
parental report of learning disability and attention deficit/hyperactivity 
disorder in U.S. children: NHANES 1999-2002. Environ Health Perspect, 2014. 
122(12): p. 1336-42.
Oulhote, Y. and M.F. Bouchard, Urinary Metabolites of Organophosphate and 
Pyrethroid Pesticides and Behavioral Problems in Canadian Children. Environ 
Health Perspect, 2013. 121(11-12): p. 1378-1384.

Yolton, K., et al., Impact of low-level gestational exposure to organophosphate 
pesticides on neurobehavior in early infancy: a prospective study. Environ 
Health, 2013. 12(1): p. 79.

McKelvey, W., et al., Population-Based Biomonitoring of Exposure to 
Organophosphate and Pyrethroid Pesticides in New York City. Environ Health 
Perspect, 2013.

Bellanger, M., et al., Neurobehavioral Deficits, Diseases and Associated Costs 
of Exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in the European Union. J Clin 
Endocrinol Metab, 2015: p. jc20144323

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