Are Bugsprays Harming Children’s Brains? What Parents Need to Know

A common chemical found in many households throughout the U.S. is known to disrupt the proper function of children’s brains. Pregnant women and parents should be cautious and avoid contact with this product to protect their children from potential harm.

The Dangerous Chemical: Deltamethrin

Deltamethrin is the insecticide ingredient in question. It is part of a group of pesticides called pyrethroids, which are known to interfere with dopamine function in the brain. This can result in problems with hyperactivity, memory, focus, and impulsivity control.

Lab studies carried out by a team of researchers from Rutgers, Emory University, the University of Rochester Medical Center, and Wake Forest University have shown that exposure to pyrethroid pesticides, including deltamethrin, may increase a child’s chances of developing ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

With this knowledge in hand, researchers believe that it’s crucial to identify and understand the potential environmental factors that could be contributing to ADHD. According to researcher Jason Richardson, “Although we can’t change genetic susceptibility to ADHD, there may be modifiable environmental factors, including exposures to pesticides, that we should be examining in more detail.”

Greater Risk for Male Children

The lab tests on animals revealed that male animals were more at risk than females, which aligns with what is seen in children with ADHD. Alarmingly, the ADHD-type symptoms persisted in the lab animals even after they were fully grown and the pesticide was no longer detectable in their bodies. This suggests that pesticide exposure during early development could have long-lasting implications.

It’s crucial to note that deltamethrin is considered to be less toxic than other pesticides. It is commonly applied to gardens, lawns, vegetables, and golf courses. However, the research findings indicate that we need to reassess how these pesticides are used to ensure that we don’t unnecessarily expose those who might be at a higher risk to such chemicals.

Increased Sensitivity in Young Children and Pregnant Women

Young children and pregnant women are believed to be more sensitive to pesticides than others. This is because their bodies metabolize these chemicals at a slower rate. Consequently, reducing exposure to such substances becomes more critical, particularly during pregnancy and early childhood development.

How to Minimize Exposure to Deltamethrin

If you’re a parent or expecting a child soon, take these steps to minimize exposure to deltamethrin and other pyrethroid pesticides:

  1. Choose organic produce: Purchasing organic fruits and vegetables can help reduce your family’s exposure to harmful pesticides. To get started, consider the Dirty Dozen list, which includes the top 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residues.

  2. Use alternative pest control methods: Instead of using chemical pesticides, opt for natural pest control methods such as beneficial insects, traps, and barriers. Learn about alternative methods for keeping your garden and home pest-free.

  3. Give your home a thorough clean: Regularly vacuum your carpets, furniture, and floors to eliminate any residue from pesticides. Additionally, ensure that your cleaning products are free from harmful chemicals. You can find natural cleaning product recipes online to make your own at home.

  4. Read pesticide labels carefully: If you need to use a pesticide, be sure to read the label thoroughly. Make sure it’s intended for the specific pest problem you’re experiencing, and follow the application instructions to the letter. Using more than the recommended amount can increase the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

By taking these precautions, you can help reduce the exposure to deltamethrin and other pyrethroid pesticides, protecting the health and development of your children. The effects of these chemicals on the brain are concerning, so be vigilant and proactive in minimizing contact with such substances.