Effects Of Pesticides On The Brain

Due to the high levels of toxicity, the effects of pesticides on the brain can be particularly damaging after prolonged exposure.
Effects of pesticides on the brain

Each year the chemical industry takes back hundreds of products that until then seemed safe. Science appears to confirm the effects of pesticides on the brain and the damage they can cause.

Pesticides make up a large group of heterogeneous chemical compounds. Despite the great benefits they bring to agriculture, they also pose a great health risk. In this article we will try to understand what are the effects of pesticides on the human brain .

Used in agriculture to eradicate insects, weeds, fungi or rodents, pesticides favor the increase of production. But there is a downside: the effects of pesticides on the brain and the enormous health risk.

Nowadays we are continuously exposed to numerous chemicals. Often enough in-depth laboratory studies are not conducted that can rule out the toxic effects. Sometimes, in fact, the pesticide itself is not harmful, but it becomes harmful in combination with other substances. In the long run, these compounds have devastating consequences for the body.

The effects of pesticides are particularly severe in children. Exposure to contaminating chemicals, even at a low level, can affect brain development. This also happens during gestation. Obviously, the longer the exposure time, the greater the damage.

Some of these substances contribute to the onset of permanent disorders, including attention deficit. The developing brain is very vulnerable to the effects of chemicals.

Use of pesticides in agriculture

Effects of pesticides on the brain: the first studies

In 1962, conservation biologist Rachel Carson published the book Silent Spring. Since then, it is considered the first book that has contributed to the formation of modern environmental consciousness. For the first time, the harmful effects of pesticides on the environment were addressed. The issue alarmed the US population, so much so that the US government was obliged to prohibit the use of DDT.

In the 1970s and 1980s, numerous studies addressed the effects of pesticides on the brain. A group of scientists was able to show that prolonged exposure to organochlorine pesticides produces alterations in the central nervous system (CNS).

Consequences of prolonged exposure to pesticides

Pesticides are toxic to both humans and animals. Some toxins, in fact, are so strong that a minimal dose is enough to be fatal. There are also less aggressive toxins that do not cause immediate damage. In these cases, however, the risk is constituted by prolonged exposure to the substance.

Pesticide toxins can remain in the body for a long time, causing different reactions. These reactions depend on various factors: the duration of exposure, the type of pesticide and personal resistance to chemicals.

Pesticides and Alzheimer’s

Numerous scientists around the world are dedicated to the study of this difficult neurodegenerative disease. Thanks to their research, we get to know it better and better.

The journal JAMA Neurology published a study highlighting the relationship between the environment and Alzheimer’s. The study was able to determine that exposure to pesticides such as DDT increases the risk of developing the disease. Used in the United States until 1972, DDT was also banned in Italy in 1978. It was usually used against parasites and to process a substance called dicofol.

To confirm the relationship between Alzheimer’s and pesticides, 2 groups of patients suffering from this neurodegenerative disease were analyzed. The study showed that patients with high levels of pesticides in their blood suffered more severe cognitive impairment than others. While the members of the second group, although manifesting the disease, did not have toxins in the blood.

These are very interesting data regarding the effects of pesticides on the brain, but they can only explain some cases of Alzheimer’s. However, they highlight the direct relationship between pesticides and this dreaded neurodegenerative disease.

Relationship between pesticides and Alzheimer's

Pesticides and autism

While autism has an important genetic component, it is also influenced by the environment . One of the risk factors that increases the chances of suffering from it is exposure to pesticides during pregnancy. A University of California study highlighted the relationship between exposure to these and other toxic substances and pregnancy

According to studies, pesticides can mainly alter the DNA methylation of the placenta. This alters the development of the fetus. Furthermore, the chances of suffering from autism increase exponentially.

Pesticides and Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s is also a chronic neurodegenerative disorder. It occurs due to the destruction of neurons acting in the central nervous system, and its causes are still unknown. The importance of these neurons is that they use dopamine as their primary neurotransmitter. And it is thanks to dopamine that our body receives the information it needs to move.

During a study, Dr. Francisco Pan-Montojo and his team of scientists confirmed what was already hypothesized: one of the effects of pesticides on the brain is the increased chances of suffering from Parkinson’s. But numerous other epidemiological studies have come to the same conclusions. In summary, there are some toxic substances that can cause the symptoms of this disease.

It is clear that the use of pesticides is a topic that generates debate. Furthermore, studies appear to be increasingly confirming the harmful effects of these products. On the one hand, these are essential substances for modern agriculture. On the other hand, it is now recognized that they cause serious illness. But then, is it worth using them? The debate is always heated, as well as the research on the subject.

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