Common Insecticide May Harm Boys’ Brains More Than Girls’
From Scientific American. More ugly products from our friends at Dow Chemical.
A widely used pesticide – banned in homes but still commonly used on farms – appears to harm boys’ developing brains more than girls’, according to a new study of children in New York City.
In boys, exposure to chlorpyrifos in the womb was associated with lower scores on short-term memory tests compared with girls exposed to similar amounts.
The study is the first to find gender differences in how the insecticide harms prenatal development. Scientists say the finding adds to evidence that boys’ brains may be more vulnerable to some chemical exposures.
Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide, a powerful class of pesticide that has toxic effects on nervous systems. It was widely used in homes and yards to kill cockroaches and other insects, but in 2001 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned its residential use because of health risks to children. Since then, levels inside U.S. homes have dropped [PDF], but residue remains in many homes. In addition, many developing countries still use the pesticide indoors.
Known by the Dow trade name Lorsban, chlorpyrifos is still sprayed on some crops, including fruit trees and vegetables, and also is used on golf courses and for mosquito control. About 10 million pounds of chlorpyrifos are applied to agricultural fields annually, according to the EPA.
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