Neurotoxicity of Pesticides
In the Summer 1986 issue of the Journal of Pesticide Reform is an excellent article, "Neurotoxicity of Pesticides," by Bambi Batts Young, PhD. She and her small staff at the Center for Science in the Public Interest have been researching environmental substances that are neurotoxins for the past six years. She points out that "a very large proportion of all the pesticides used today are neurotoxic, and many are designed expressly to disrupt nerve function." She gives examples of many kinds of pesticides. In particular, carbamates and organophosphates are two very widely used classes of pesticides. "Both types of pesticide block cholinesterase," an enzyme that controls the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. The resulting excessive stimulation causes very widespread symptoms. Dr. Young gives examples and references and tabulates the problem.
United States regulatory policy neglects neurotoxicity. The National Academy of Sciences found in 1984 that no pesticide has been tested adequately for neurobehavioral toxicity and that 67 percent of existing pesticides had not been tested at all! The World Health Organization has developed excellent protocols for tests. It is time for our Office of Pesticide Programs to give top priority to this testing.
In another article in the same isue of the journal, Donald E. Sprague, MD, and Melody J. Milam, PhD, write on "Chemical Sensitivity and Pesticides." They cite a study that shows statistically significant improvements in human brain function when blood levels are reduced by as little as a tenth of a part per billion.
Now that summer is approaching, let us make our voices in NOHA heard demanding pesticide-free food and air.
Article from NOHA NEWS, Vol. XII, No. 2, Spring 1987, page 4.