Chlorpyrifos : another pesticide that must be banned

The EU approval of the brain-damaging pesticide chlorpyrifos was based on one single biased study – commissioned by industry…

The Cross-border investigation on chlorpyrifos was initiated by Investigative Reporting Denmark and Danwatch, and made in collaboration with journalists from Knack in Belgium, Le Monde in France, Dagbladet in Norway, Newsweek in Poland, Ostro in Slovenia, El Confidential in Spain and The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting in US. The investigation was supported by

Environmental Chemicals and Autism

A Scoping Review of the Human and Animal Research, 2019

The Endocrine Disruption Exchange newest scoping review finds that 152 environmental chemicals have been investigated in humans or animals for their association with autism. TEDX highlight the need for systematic review of lead, PCBs, and chlorpyrifos.


Estimates of autism prevalence have increased dramatically over the past two decades. Evidence suggests environmental factors may contribute to the etiology of the disorder.

This scoping review aimed to identify and categorize primary research and reviews on the association between prenatal and early postnatal exposure to environmental chemicals and the development of autism in epidemiological studies and rodent models of autism.

PubMed was searched through 8 February 2018. Included studies assessed exposure to environmental chemicals prior to 2 months of age in humans or 14 d in rodents. Rodent studies were considered relevant if they included at least one measurement of reciprocal social communicative behavior or repetitive and stereotyped behavior. Study details are presented in interactive displays using Tableau Public.

The search returned 21,603 unique studies, of which 54 epidemiological studies, 46 experimental rodent studies, and 50 reviews were deemed relevant, covering 152 chemical exposures. The most frequently studied exposures in humans were particulate matter (n=14), mercury (n=14), nonspecific air pollution (n=10), and lead (n=10). In rodent studies, the most frequently studied exposures were chlorpyrifos (n=9), mercury (n=6), and lead (n=4).

Although research is growing rapidly, wide variability exists in study design and conduct, exposures investigated, and outcomes assessed. Conclusions focus on recommendations to guide development of best practices in epidemiology and toxicology, including greater harmonization across these fields of research to more quickly and efficiently identify chemicals of concern. In particular, we recommend chlorpyrifos, lead, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) be systematically reviewed in order to assess their relationship with the development of autism. There is a pressing need to move forward quickly and efficiently to understand environmental influences on autism in order to answer current regulatory questions and inform treatment and prevention efforts.

EU should ban brain-harming chlorpyrifos to protect health

Exposure to chlorpyrifos is linked to ADHD and autism. It should not be allowed on the European market

Today, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) together with Générations Futures, Pesticide Action Network Europe and Pesticide Action Network Germany released a factsheet on the health effects of chlorpyrifos.

Chlorpyrifos is one of the most widely used pesticides in Europe and its residues are also commonly found in our food. The current authorisation for chlorpyrifos on the European market will expire on 31 January 2019. We are very concerned about the possibility of an extended authorisation due to its health harming properties. Chlorpyrifos is linked to the disruption of the hormonal system and effects on the developing human brain. Children exposed to chlorpyrifos in the womb or in early life can suffer neurodevelopmental effects later in life, like attention deficit disorders (ADHD) and autism.

This factsheet sets out the case and evidence against the use of chlorpyrifos and explains the health impacts which justify its ban.


Highly Hazardous Pesticides in Mexico, IPEN Report, 2018

Hundreds of Banned, Highly Hazardous Pesticides Allowed in Mexico: New Report Calls for HHP Ban and Agroecological Alternatives

IPEN Press Release

(Göteborg, Sweden) – The report “Highly Hazardous Pesticides in Mexico,” coordinated by The Pesticide Action Network in Mexico (RAPAM) is now available. In the foreword to the English edition, Hilal Elver, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, and Baskut Tuncak, United Nations Special Rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes, say:

“This book provides an excellent overview about the peril of the wide use of highly hazardous pesticides in Mexico, many banned in other countries.

“It highlights the need for changes in the regulatory framework and the promotion of emerging agroecological alternatives from peasant communities, including organic farming. It is a very good source to convince other developing countries to phase out dangerous agro-chemicals, achieve healthy food and healthy environments, all the while protecting human rights in agrarian communities and the right to adequate food for all people.”

they add.

The report highlights the fact that in Mexico, there are 140 active ingredients of pesticides that are authorized by the Federal Commission for the Protection of Health Risks (COFEPRIS) in thousands of commercial products that are banned in other countries, such as the insecticides parathion-methyl, carbofuran, and methamidophos. In addition, 183 active ingredients classified as dangerous by various international organizations in the Pesticide Action Network Highly Hazardous Pesticide (HHP) List for their short and long-term effects are authorized, including 43 pesticides that are probable causes of cancer in humans, such as herbicide glyphosate; and 35 hormonal disruptors such as insecticide chlorpyrifos-ethyl, authorized for agricultural, domestic, urban and livestock use. The use of these pesticides benefits transnational and national companies.

“A profound change in the neoliberal regulatory policy followed by governments in the last decades by health, environment and agriculture authorities in our country is necessary,”

said Fernando Bejarano, Director of RAPAM and coordinator of the report. He also pointed out,

“it is necessary to put at the center of the policy on pesticides and pest control the human dignity of exposed workers, as well as communities and consumers, rather than the protection of the profits and merchandise of powerful companies.”

The RAPAM specialist added,

“it is necessary to develop a national program of prohibition and increasing reduction of highly hazardous pesticides and the promotion of agro-ecological alternatives, especially in crops where they are already tested, and are near vulnerable populations and sensitive ecosystems.”

Finally, he stressed,

“The report details some short and long-term recommendations that authorities of the future government should consider, taking into account the evidence of the damages already caused and applying the precautionary principle in cases of controversy.”

The English edition includes an extensive chapter that analyzes how this new normative category of highly hazardous pesticides emerges in the international arena and their situation in Mexico, written by Fernando Bejarano, Director of RAPAM.

It also contains a chapter on human rights and pesticides, written by lawyers Victoria Beltrán, consultant, and Maria Colin from Greenpeace Mexico.

“In our country, there is a terrible management of these substances. Among the main problems are the absence of a definition of Highly Hazardous Pesticides, and policies that acknowledge the severe damages these pesticides cause; they must be withdrawn from the market.”

stated Maria Colin, legal campaigner of Greenpeace Mexico. She said,

“The excessive use, deficiencies in labeling, bad business practices, excessive confidentiality, lack of transparency, poor generation of data and statistics on the matter, lack of monitoring and surveillance, together with a perverse system of subsidies that support their continued use by farmers, constitute an attack on the human rights of the Mexican population. Because of these reasons, a new legal framework is urgently needed that has as its pillars the precautionary principle, as well as ‘the polluter pays’ and the substitution principle.”

“The economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, with its strong component of commitment and solidarity with humanity, tell us that all people are worthy of dignified living conditions, and thus, give legitimacy to the efforts that we undertake so as not to live in misery, in ignorance, or in unhealthy or contaminated environments,”

said Victoria Beltran, lawyer and consultant. She added:

“We believe that we should continue with the reflection on the topic of human rights and pesticides; with the understanding that states as guarantors have the duty to monitor the performance of state agents and also to make companies adjust their activities to a rights framework .”

The English edition also includes the translation of a chapter on insecticides and bees, written by a specialist, Remy Vandame, PhD in Ecology, from the Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Chiapas. In Mexico, there have been 82 authorized active ingredients of insecticides present in hundreds of commercial products that can cause the death of bees, including the neonicotinoid insecticides outdoor banned in Europe, such as imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and clothianidin.

The English edition, with the prologue of the United Nations rapporteurs, as well as the complete edition in Spanish, can be downloaded free of charge.


Widespread risk from brain-harming chlorpyrifos, state scientists find

Current uses of chlorpyrifos put children at risk from unsafe levels of exposure from residues on food, contaminated water, and pesticide drift

Nerve agent chlorpyrifos is a toxic air contaminant that threatens agricultural communities and harms children’s developing brains, PAN North America reports, July 30, 2018.

Sacramento, CA – California took a step closer Monday to curbing the use of a pesticide linked to permanent brain harm, including ADHD, autism and IQ loss. Sixteen months after disgraced former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt defied his own scientists and refused to ban the neurotoxic organophosphate chlorpyrifos, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has concluded their own study by largely agreeing with the EPA scientists: current uses of chlorpyrifos put children at risk from unsafe levels of exposure from residues on food, contaminated water, and pesticide drift up to half a mile. Now, children’s health advocates are pushing the department to follow the science with sound policy, and become the second state in the nation to ban it. Hawaii’s state legislature passed a statewide ban in May.

DPR’s scientific conclusions were announced at a hearing convened Monday by the state’s Scientific Review Panel (SRP), a body of independent scientists overseeing DPR’s risk assessment of chlorpyrifos. Review of the chemical had been on hold for many years pending the proposed federal ban. The SRP formally accepted the risk assessment Monday, and unanimously agreed to designate chlorpyrifos a Toxic Air Contaminant, joining a list of 46 other chemicals including a number of fumigant pesticides. DPR now has ten working days to initiate the regulatory process formalizing the Toxic Air Contaminant designation.

“We’re glad that the state has finally accepted the overwhelming consensus of federal and independent scientists who’ve studied chlorpyrifos for years and determined that it harms kids’ brains severely and irreversibly,”

said Mark Weller, co-director of the statewide coalition Californians for Pesticide Reform.

It’s what comes next that will determine for how long California’s communities will continue to be put at risk. DPR has the authority to halt exposures immediately by suspending use in California while formal assessment of control options are considered. However, DPR may also follow the timeline under the Toxic Air Contaminant regulations that allow for two years to decide how to mitigate the risk to children’s brain health. And meanwhile, almost a million pounds continues to be used on California’s food crops each year, exposing thousands of children and pregnant women to a chemical that permanently damages the developing brain.

“With everything we now know, it’s unconscionable that this toxic chemical is still being used on food crops in California,”

“The state must immediately suspend all use of chlorpyrifos to protect kids, farmworkers and agricultural communities.”

said Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Pesticide Chlorpyrifos Risks to Workers, EPA Report

EPA is releasing an assessment for public comment on the potential for human health risk of the pesticide chlorpyrifos

EPA-background image
A pesticide used on corn and other U.S. crops poses health risks to workers who mix and apply it and also can contaminate drinking water, according to a new EPA report.

The US Environmental Protection Agency EPA is releasing an assessment of people’s risks from the pesticide chlorpyrifos for public comment. The assessment updates the June 2011 preliminary human health risk assessment based on new information including public comments. EPA factored in exposures from multiple sources and considered all populations in this revised assessment. The public comment period is expected to begin in mid-January, 2015 and will be open for 60 days.

What does EPA’s December 2014 human health risk assessment show?

This assessment shows some risks to workers who mix, load and apply chlorpyrifos pesticide products. When used in large amounts in small watersheds in certain geographic areas, chlorpyrifos also shows potential risks from drinking water. There were no additional risks from chlorpyrifos in food or exposure to bystanders and workers from airborne chlorpyrifos.

What are EPA’s next steps?

EPA is developing appropriate measures to ensure that workers that use or work around areas treated with chlorpyrifos are protected and that drinking water in vulnerable watersheds is protected.
As part of the ongoing registration review for chlorpyrifos, EPA is also assessing the ecological risks from chlorpyrifos in conjunction with the agency’s Endangered Species Protection Program; the results of the preliminary ecological risk assessment are expected later in 2015.

What is the registration status of chlorpyrifos?

Chlorpyrifos remains registered while it is undergoing registration review. Registration review ensures pesticides will not cause unreasonable adverse effects when used according to label directions and precautions and that there is a reasonable certainty of no harm from dietary and residential exposure. This revised human health risk assessment contributes to understanding how chlorpyrifos may affect humans, an important part of the registration review process.

How did EPA assess risks?

EPA assessed exposure from multiple sources including those from food, drinking water, pesticide inhalation and absorption of the pesticide through the skin for all populations, including infants, children and women of childbearing age. The assessment updates the June 2011 preliminary human health risk assessment based on new information received, including public comments and a new human response model.
This is one of the first risk assessments to employ a physiologically-based pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic (PBPK/PD) model. This is a mathematical model that enhances our ability to assess risk by allowing us to consider variations in a chemical’s effects on a person based on such variables as age and genetics and allows us to predict how the same dose may affect various members of a large population differently. EPA has held several meetings of the FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panels to get independent advice on the relevance and usefulness that a PBPK/PD model can provide in assessing a chemical’s risks and one specifically on PBPK/PD and chlorpyrifos.

Did EPA take into account the 10x safety factor specified under the Food Quality Protection Act to protect children?

Yes, EPA did retain the 10x factor for this risk assessment. EPA believes that the PBPK-PD model in conjunction with retention of the FQPA 10x safety factor is protective of children and other vulnerable populations.

Who is at risk for chlorpyrifos exposure?

We are concerned about some workers who mix, load and apply chlorpyrifos to agricultural and other non-residential sites. We are also concerned about workers who work around areas that are treated with chlorpyrifos, even if they are not using chlorpyrifos products as part of their jobs.

What would the signs or symptoms be for chlorpyrifos exposure?

At high enough doses chlorpyrifos can cause cholinesterase inhibition in humans; that is, it can impact the nervous system causing nausea, dizziness, confusion, and at very high exposures (e.g., accidents or major spills), respiratory paralysis and death. Anyone who exhibits these symptoms should seek immediate help from a local hospital, physician, or nearest poison control center.

Can chlorpyrifos affect wildlife?

Yes, and EPA has taken actions to help protect wildlife from chlorpyrifos exposure.
For example, many of the reported incidents of wildlife mortality associated with chlorpyrifos use were related to residential lawn and termite uses and use on golf courses. The residential uses have been eliminated, termiticide uses have been restricted, and the application rate on golf courses has been reduced. Additionally, no-spray buffers around surface water bodies, as well as rate reductions for agricultural uses further reduced the environmental burden of chlorpyrifos.
The agency is currently assessing the ecological risks for chlorpyrifos in conjunction with the agency’s Endangered Species Protection Program; the results of the preliminary ecological risk assessment are expected later in 2015.

What actions has EPA taken on chlorpyrifos?

The EPA has taken a number of actions that have limited the use of chlorpyrifos since 2000. These actions include:

  • In June 2000, the Agency eliminated all homeowner uses, except ant and roach baits in child resistant packaging.
  • In 2000, EPA required that all use of chlorpyrifos products in the United States be discontinued on tomatoes. The use on apple trees was restricted to pre-bloom and dormant applications. The grape tolerance was lowered to reflect the labeled dormant application.
  • In 2002, EPA restricted the use of chlorpyrifos on citrus and tree nuts as well other crops.
  • In 2012, EPA further limited the use of chlorpyrifos by significantly lowering pesticide application rates and creating “no-spray” buffer zones around public spaces, including recreational areas and homes.
Sources and more information
  • Revised Human Health Risk Assessment on Chlorpyrifos, EPA, January 5, 2015.
  • EPA Revised Chlorpyrifos Assessment Shows Risk to Workers,
    EPA press release, January 5, 2015.
  • EPA report finds pesticide poses risk to workers, spurs calls for ban, environmentalhealthnews, January 8, 2015.


Agricultural Pesticides during Pregnancy linked to Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism risk is higher near pesticide-treated fields

Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticides: The CHARGE Study

Pesticide Exposure during Pregnancy linked to Autism.

Gestational exposure to several common agricultural pesticides can induce developmental neurotoxicity in humans, and has been associated with developmental delay and autism.

To evaluate whether residential proximity to agricultural pesticides during pregnancy is associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or developmental delay (DD) in the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment (CHARGE) Study.

The CHARGE study is a population-based case-control study of ASD, developmental delay (DD), and typical development. For 970 participants, commercial pesticide application data from the California Pesticide Use Report (1997-2008) were linked to the addresses during pregnancy. Pounds of active ingredient applied for organophophates, organochlorines, pyrethroids, and carbamates were aggregated within 1.25km, 1.5km, and 1.75km buffer distances from the home. Multinomial logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratio (OR) of exposure comparing confirmed cases of ASD (n = 486) or DD (n = 168) with typically developing referents (n = 316).

Approximately one-third of CHARGE Study mothers lived, during pregnancy, within 1.5 km (just under one mile) of an agricultural pesticide application. Proximity to organophosphates at some point during gestation was associated with a 60% increased risk for ASD, higher for 3rd trimester exposures [OR = 2.0, 95% confidence interval (CI) = (1.1, 3.6)], and 2nd trimester chlorpyrifos applications: OR = 3.3 [95% CI = (1.5, 7.4)]. Children of mothers residing near pyrethroid insecticide applications just prior to conception or during 3rd trimester were at greater risk for both ASD and DD, with OR’s ranging from 1.7 to 2.3. Risk for DD was increased in those near carbamate applications, but no specific vulnerable period was identified.

This study of ASD strengthens the evidence linking neurodevelopmental disorders with gestational pesticide exposures, and particularly, organophosphates and provides novel results of ASD and DD associations with, respectively, pyrethroids and carbamates. Children of mothers who live near agricultural areas, or who are otherwise exposed to organophosphate, pyrethroid, or carbamate pesticides during gestation may be at increased risk for neurodevelopmental disorders.
Further research on gene-by-environment interactions may reveal vulnerable sub-populations.

  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticides: The CHARGE Study, Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1307044, 23 June 2014 – PDF
  • Supplemental Material, Aerial image showing further descriptions of the study population and exposure model, ehp.1307044.s001.
  • Autism risk higher near pesticide-treated fields, study says, Environmental Health News, autism-and-pesticides, June 23, 2014

Meet the twelve known Toxic Chemicals that damage our Children’s Brains

Illustration by Jackie Lay for The Atlantic post:
The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains

neurotoxins infographics
Leading scientists recently identified a dozen chemicals as being responsible for widespread neurodevelopmental disabilities, including #autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, and other cognitive impairments.

Leading scientists recently identified a dozen chemicals as being responsible for widespread neurodevelopmental disabilities, including autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, and other cognitive impairments.
But the scope of the chemical dangers in our environment is likely even greater.

In 2006, Dr Philippe Grandjean did a systematic review and identified six industrial chemicals as developmental neurotoxicants:

  • arsenic
  • ethanol
  • lead
  • methylmercury
  • polychlorinated biphenyls PCBs
  • and toluene.

Seven years later, the number of chemicals known to be toxic to children’s developing brains has doubled with these six additional ones:

  • chlorpyrifos,
  • dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane DDT/DDE,
  • fluoride,
  • manganese,
  • tetrachloroethylene PERC,
  • and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers PBDEs.

Dr Philippe Grandjean – who wrote the book Only One Chance, how to protect the Brains of the Next Generation – assumes that even more neurotoxicants remain undiscovered and proposes a global prevention strategy.

Sources and Press Articles:
  • The Toxins That Threaten Our Brains, The Atlantic 284466, by James Hamblin, MARCH 18, 2014.
  • Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity, NCBI, PMID: 24556010, 2014 Feb 17.
  • Full text: The Lancet Neurology, Volume 13, Issue 3, Pages 330 – 338, March 2014, doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(13)70278-3
  • More Toxic Chemicals Damaging Children’s Brains, HuffingtonPost, n_4790229, by Lynne Peeples, 02/14/2014
  • Putting the next generation of brains in danger, CNNchemicals-children-brains, by Saundra Young, February 17, 2014