One study only paved way for chlorpyrifos

Chlorpyrifos has been used in EU despite the manufacturer’s study on developmental neurotoxicity is criticized for being invalid. Photo Marcos García Rey. The EU-approval of the pesticide chlorpyrifos was based on one single study concerning possible damages on the developing brain, commissioned by the producer Dow in 1998. Dow has been asked to provide a new study on developmental neurotoxicity, but rejected to comply. A spokesperson for EFSA (European Food Safety Agency) says to Le Monde:

“We can confirm that during the evaluation of chlorpyrifos in 2013 the only one available study on developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) was from 1998 and had several limitations (e.g. lack of findings in the positive control, exposure period from gestational day 6 to lactation day 11 (instead of 21), lower number of individuals for neuropathology (6 instead of 10) and for learning and memory (8 instead of 10), etc.).”

Spain is acting as the Rapporteur Member State for the UE in the renewal procedure which will end in January 2020. Continue Reading →

National tests show we eat insect poison

Updated 07.26 on 17/6 2019. European citizens continue to eat and drink the insect poison believed by scientists to cause damage to children’s brains. Data for the year 2016 from all member states sent to the food safety agency EFSA shows that out of 76,200 samples 3,371 contained chlorpyrifos and 839 chlorpyrifos-metyl. In total they accounted for 5,5 percent of all the samples. !function(){“use strict”;window.addEventListener(“message”,function(a){if(void 0!==a.data[“datawrapper-height”])for(var e in a.data[“datawrapper-height”]){var t=document.getElementById(“datawrapper-chart-“+e)||document.querySelector(“iframe[src*='”+e+”‘]”);t&&(t.style.height=a.data[“datawrapper-height”][e]+”px”)}})}();

The NGO Pesticide Action Network Europe has analyzed the same data and narrowed the analysis to only look at randomly sampled unprocessed plant based food products in EU. Continue Reading →

Team-members in the environmental investigations

Eva Achinger is a reporter working for the public German broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk (ARD). In 2016 she joined the investigative unit BR Recherche/BR Data. Her investigations mainly deal with environment, agriculture, animal welfare and human rights. Lorenzo Bagnoli is investigative reporter at IRPI – Investigative reporting project Italy. He is focused on transnational organized crime. Continue Reading →

Barbara Demeneix: ”Detrimental effects on IQ”

Barbara Demeniex, Professor of Biology at the Laboratoire Evolution des Régulations endocriniennes (Centre national de la recherche scientifique – CNRS and Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle – MNHN) in Paris:

”The scientific evidence clearly shows that prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos has detrimental effects on IQ and brain cortex thickness. Chlorpyrifos is toxic for the central nervous system, i.e. neurotoxic, and it is an endocrine disruptor, notably of thyroid signalling. Chlorpyrifos can thus interfere with brain development.”

”In 2012, it was shown that brain cortex thickness is significantly reduced as a result of prenatal chlorpyrifos exposure. Recently, French researcher Vincent Laudet has demonstrated unequivocally that chlorpyrifos is a thyroid disrupting chemicals. One can wonder why it has not already been banned.”

”A partial answer comes from the fact that the agencies evaluating the risk were misled by the manufacturer’s dossier where brain endpoints were not correctly reported, underestimating the effects, as shown by a recent paper by Axel Mie and colleagues.”

”In 2015, we evaluated the cost of exposure to organophosphate pesticides – Chlorpyrifos being the most used in the EU. Continue Reading →

Axel Mie: ”That’s how it works; assessment is based on business funded research”

Axel Mie, associated professor Karolinska Institute, Department of Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset Stockholm, Sweden. ”It’s obvious that many independent studies find effects in the development of the brain whereas business funded research finds no such effects. The present assessment of chlorpyrifos is to a large extent based on hundreds of studies finances and filed by Dow. That’s how it works. This is well known.”

”The authorities have to take all evidence into consideration, also academic studies. Continue Reading →

EU-system alerts consumers – after they have eaten

Oranges from Spain is some of the fruits in EU, where there is a really high risk they are contaminated with chlorpyrifos. These oranges are harvested in the Spanish province, Valencia. Photo: APIADS – Agrupación de defensa sanitaria apícola

Documents released to us indicate that the EU-wide reporting system called RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) gives European consumers a weak protection, if any. In April 2018 Austria notified 19 other countries of imported basmati rice from Pakistan that contained chlorpyrifos in a level deemed to pose a serious risk to human health. The rice was withdrawn from the market by importers in Austria, Germany and the Netherlands. Continue Reading →

Exposed mothers gave birth to mentally retarded children

Pesticide application to a field of cereals in Tauste, Spanish province of Saragosse. (Photo: Marcos García Rey)

Children in California’s main agricultural region Central Valley were compared to their mothers’ exposure to chlorpyrifos and other pesticides. 2961 of the children had a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) including autism and Asperger syndrome, 445 of them had known intellectual disabilities and were recorded as mentally retarded. Ten times as many children without such diagnosis were also included in the study. The mothers’ exposure to chlorpyrifos and other pesticides was assessed. Continue Reading →

Thomas Backhaus: ”One of the really nasty pesticides”

Thomas Backhaus Professor for Ecotoxicology and Environmental Sciences the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. ”You can say the compound is very good at doing its job – killing insects. Farmers don’t spray if it doesn’t work. Thus, the problem is how to develop a non-toxic poison; a challenge for any pesticide.”

”The fundamental discussion is that those who want to market a product have to prove it’s safe and academic research is not a good counterpart. There is no independent entity that runs or re-runs the experiments on  which all the conclusions are based. Continue Reading →

Ketil Hylland: “Chlorpyrifos is a nerve poison”

Professor Ketil Hylland at the Department of Biosciences at the University of Oslo (private photo):

“Chlorpyrifos is a nerve poison that affects the transmission of signals between nerve cells. Previously, the common belief was that the substance disappeared quickly from the environment and affected people to a small extent, but gradually one has understood how harmful it is.” Hylland has been working on pollutants and pollution in water for decades. He led the Environmental Toxication Committee, which produced a report to environmental minister Erik Solheim in 2010, and in the past year he has led experiments with chlorpyrifos on cod, a fish living in Norway’s salt water fjords.”We wanted to see how the drug affects both general health and behavior. We saw that chlorpyrifos clearly affected the nervous system of the cod. Continue Reading →

Leonardo Trasande: ”Damage the brain of young children”

Leonardo Trasande, pediatrician, associate professor, director of the division of Environmental Pediatrics New York University School of Medicine, author of ”Sicker, Fatter, Poorer” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2019):

”One of the worst consequences is that the pesticides causes the loss of IQ points for our children. When you look at studies run by Columbia University, they show that the exposure to chemicals are linked to the decrease in IQ, tremors, and loss of cognitive potential. Chlorpyrifos is one of those chemicals affecting those measurable decreases.”

”The main argument to keep the massive use of pesticides is that it would be the only way to sustain the agricultural supply. However, this is not true. First of all, there are alternatives that seem to me much safer, and, in addition, there are studies now show that organic agriculture could not diminish the production values of food.”

”There is a place for regulation as regulators should work on avoiding the contact of chemicals and the population. Continue Reading →