How much do insecticides affect your child’s health?

Insecticides belonging to the pyrethroid class are found in many household products and unfortunately they have proven to be harmful to human health.

According to researchers from the IRSET ( Institut de Recherche en Santé, Environnement et Travail ) in Rennes, France, they are able to interfere with children’s brain activities. Experts, working in association with researchers from the LPDE ( Laboratoire de Psychologie du Développement et de l’Éducation ) at the University of Rennes 2, found that these insecticides particularly affect children’s memory and verbal understanding.

Nearly 300 mother-child couples were checked for the study, which involved visits to the home of two psychologists. One psychologist worked to determine the child’s neuro-cognitive performance, while the other considered other stimuli such as the family environment to analyze intellectual development. Urine samples were collected to establish exposure to these pyrethroids, with particular reference to five metabolites ( 3-PBA, 4-F-3-PBA, cis-DCCA, trans-DCCA and cis-DBCA ).


Children are especially susceptible to this dangerous insecticide family

Exposure to children is thought to be common because they are often very close to the ground and put their hands in their mouths continuously; these behaviors make them more subject to contact with pyrethroids, which are mainly absorbed through the digestive system and the skin.


Of the five metabolites, two in particular ( 3 PBA and cis-DBCA ) were found in high quantities in children’s urine, and this was associated with a significant decrease in their verbal understanding and working memory. Although no link has yet been found between the other three metabolites and the weakening of cognitive performance, this discovery still constitutes a strong argument against pyrethroids, showing that even in small quantities this group of insecticides can be harmful.


“Further studies are needed to draw definitive conclusions,” says Cecile Chevrier, lead author of the study, “but they indicate the potential liability of low doses of deltamethrin in particular (since cis-DBCA is its main and selective metabolite), and pyrethroid insecticides in general (since the 3-BPA metabolite is the degradation product of about thirty of these insecticides). ”


Even low-level exposure is risky

The study, published in Environment International , specifies that the topic requires further investigation because its potential effect involves many areas. It is emphasized that:

Infant exposure to low levels of deltamethrin ( cis-DBCA being the main and selective metabolite), in particular, and to pyrethroids in general (as found in the levels of 3-PBA metabolites ) can negatively influence cognitive development within sixth year of age. Regardless of their etiology, these cognitive deficits can be relevant from a school point of view, since cognitive impairment in children interferes with learning and social development. The potential causes that can be prevented are of primary importance for public health.


Pyrethroids may lurk in your home

Deltamethrin, for example, is a pyrethroid listed on the EPA ( Environmental Protection Agency ) website. Lambda-cyhalothrin (found in many anti ants, cockroaches and spiders sprays) also appears in the list of pyrethrins and pyrethroids, which “…. are contained in over 3,500 registered products, many of which are widely used inside and outside of homes, as well as on pets, such as mosquito repellent, and in agriculture. ”


If you want you can check similar products in your home for the following pyrethroids, indicated in the EPA list with these names:

Stereoisomers of allethrin, Bifentrin, Beta-Ciflutrina, Cifrlutrina, Cipermetrina, Cifenotrina, Deltametrina, Esfenvalerate, Fenpropatrin, Tau-Fluvalinate, Lambda-Cyhalothrin, Gamma Cyhalothrin, Imiprotrina, 1RS cis-Permetrina, Promethetramine, Permethrin, Permethrin, Permethrin, Permethrin, Permethrin, Permethrin, Permethrin. -phenotrin), Teflutrin, Tetramethrin, Tralometrine, and Zeta-Cypermethrin .


Pyrethroids are widespread in the United States, having replaced the chlorpyrifos insecticide that was banned for domestic use over a decade ago.


They are found everywhere from spray cans to household products, insect repellents, shampoos for dogs and cats and lice treatments, and have also been associated with other studies with changes in sperm fluid and childhood leukemia.


by Abdullah Sam
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