Early Exposure to Common Insecticide Linked to Increased Risk of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

May 15, 2023

Pyrethroids, Chemicals Used in Homes and Yards, May Not Be as Safe as Once Thought

Researchers from the University of Toledo have recently released concerning new findings regarding pyrethroids, a prevalent type of insecticide. Their study indicates that early exposure to these manufactured chemicals could raise the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, in children. Unfortunately, pyrethroids are ubiquitous in our environment and widely used for in-home pest control, landscaping, and mosquito fogging. Although pyrethroids are deemed safe by federal regulators, previous research has shown that the toxin can affect the brain when encountered during the early stages of development. The current study examined the offspring of female mice exposed to small doses of the insecticide before, during, and immediately after pregnancy. The team discovered that these young mice exhibited hyperactivity, repetitive behaviors, less vocalization, and were more likely to fail basic learning tests, behaviors consistent with neurodevelopmental disorders and autism. The study concludes that safe levels of pyrethroids need to be quickly reevaluated by regulators for all human exposure. However, a safety level reevaluation is especially important for pregnant women and children since the risk of neurodevelopment is highest in these two groups. 

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