Dossier Clorpirifos

Dossier Clorpirifos

After the Dossier Glifosato, presented in this portal on 13/05/2017, today we present a Dossier on another active principle, in use for several years also in Italy but almost forgotten by the public opinion. Yet the harmful consequences of direct residues on food and indirect on humans and the ecosystem had already been made known in the 1980s.
Chlorpyrifos (CPS) is sold under many brand names; is a pesticide belonging to the category of organophosphorus that used to kill a number of pests including many insects. It is used on crops, animals and also in urban areas. It was introduced in 1965 by the Dow Chemical Company. It acts on the nervous system of insects by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase. Unfortunately, its highly toxic mechanism of action causes over 10,000 human deaths per year, despite the fact that Clorpirifos is considered to be moderately dangerous for humans by the World Health Organization. Yes, you read correctly, moderately harmful. The fact is that chlorpyrifos is used all over the world to control insects in agricultural, residential and commercial environments.


For amplitude of information it is good to know the trade names of pesticides that contain Clorpirifos. Clorpirifos ethyl is the active ingredient of Alisè WG, Dursban 75 WG, Pyrinex ME; Clorpirifos methyl is instead contained in the Etifos ME, Reldan 22 products. It should also be remembered that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has banned its domestic use. However, it is still widely used in agriculture (as if the products we ingest, entering our body are no more dangerous than those around us in the environment) especially on beets, wheat, cotton, peanuts and vegetables, as well as for apples and grapes; it is even used on golf courses and also on some animals, including turkeys and sheep. It is also used to treat kennels and is a common ingredient in dog shampoo, spray and flea collars. In short, for nothing or nothing calculated the health of those who distribute them and those who suffer them.
Among all the consequences related to its use, perhaps the one that should have been banished since it is known is that exposure during pregnancy interferes with the mental development of children (yes of our children).
Exposure to chlorpyrifos has acute toxicity at high doses; causes persistent effects on health as a result of acute intoxication or exposure for long periods (even at low doses). The developmental effects appearing in fetuses and children, even in very small doses, are alarming.
In the European Union, quite recently, the new residual limits have been established with the regulation (EU) 2016/60 of 19 January 2016, published in the Official Journal of the European Union L14 of 21 January 2016. The provision provides for lowering maximum residue limits on some citrus fruits, pome fruit, peaches, table grapes, small fruits and some vegetables. But in fact it can be used without other requirements than those on the use of plant protection products in this category.
In short, despite everything that causes in the world (documented and confirmed by scientific works) is used with impunity.
But the worst thing is how it was (and how it is still used) in many countries. With testimonies (also reported in the minutes of the Perhaps Public) of white clouds of product (then verified).
In many countries where its use is massive (like California), boys, aged 9 to 20, all suffer from chronic respiratory diseases, asthma and difficulty concentrating at school. In this country (and others) the protests of the parents had produced some results. Under the Obama administration, the US agency for environmental protection (EPA) had proposed a ban on the use of chlorpyrifos for agriculture, after a ten-year legal fight carried out by environmental groups.
Now the Trump administration has stepped back, rejecting the charges against the pesticide and canceling the ban on use. In fact, under the new rules the EPA will not have to review the health risks of the substance for another five years, allowing its use. Europe, as already mentioned, has instead legislated only in the matter of residues in some agricultural products (but its use remains as it is.
Years of battles and struggles for health rights have been canceled, almost all over the world, under the unconscious eyes (that is, of men without conscience) of politicians and high bureaucrats of governments and commissions.
All this in spite of a recent official document of the American Agency for Environmental Protection, which reiterates, without a shadow of a doubt, how this pesticide causes mental retardation in children exposed between the ages of 2 and 3 years, pervasive developmental disorders and deficits of attention in older children and reduced level of intelligence in school-aged children who have been exposed in the womb.
The toxicologist Janette Sherman on CounterPunch already in 1998 presented her conclusions in the document entitled “Chlorpyrifos (Dursban) exposure and birth defects: report of 15 incidents, evaluation of 8 cases, theory of action, and medical at the Collegium Ramazzini International Conference and social aspects “. The Ramazzini Institute sent the work to the European Journal of Oncology for publication, but as it concerned birth defects and not cancer, it received very poor attention. Sherman, a specialist in internal medicine and toxicology and author of numerous studies, argues that the neurological damage caused by this pesticide occurs both before and after the birth of children and how they are pervasive and highly disabling.
Always on the need to report official documents also Dr. Alberto Mantovani (Higher Institute of Health) states how this pesticide can “lead to memory loss, depression and insomnia”. He also states “The effects are particularly relevant when vulnerable population groups such as pregnant women and, consequently, the fetus and children are exposed; Experimental studies show how, in these phases, chlorpyrifos can permanently interfere with neuro behavioral development “.
Several epidemiological studies have then found links between the pesticide and a number of disorders. Among these the one conducted by the University of California Davis: pregnant women who lived near fields and farms, in which chlorpyrifos was used, presented an increase in the risk of children with autism. But not only, as mentioned, low or moderate levels of exposure to chlorpyrifos during pregnancy have also been linked to a lower IQ and memory problems among newborns.
And on our tables? A striking example: in 2013 the high levels of residues in extra virgin olive oil became the subject of a question to the European Parliament and in May the Puglia Region suspends the use of pesticides on olive trees. At this point the producer, Dow AgroSciences, intervenes and immediately replies with a note stating that, since the substance is authorized, it can not be subject to limitations. All silenced and all as before.
In short, everything is well known but science, research and conscience can not emerge. According to a recent news, which comes from the new Global2000 report, glyphosate companies would in fact be buying the scientific world. Also according to Global2000, Monsanto could “have distorted the scientific evidence on the public health effects of the herbicide, in order to keep this controversial substance on the market”.
I believe that at this point we must make an ethical consideration, perhaps the time has come to review the decision-making roles of the Policy and the Precautionary Principle is no longer enough (as foreseen in Article 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union ). It is important to understand that such decisions must be entrusted to commissions, which hold ethical values, and which see within them Consciousness Free and freed from the great and nefarious interests that degrade our world. It is utopia; at the moment, but we must begin to review the role of the Democracies, before all our children no longer have the capacity to understand and to want.

Guido Bissanti

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