Evidence for Low Dose Effects of OP Insecticides

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Organophosphorus insecticides (OPs) are well studied compounds due to their widespread use in agriculture. Many studies in humans and animals have been published that assess the toxicity of this class of compounds. High doses of OPs can cause neurotoxicity. Consumers need balanced, scientifically-based, and practical information about OPs, and this white paper summarizes peer-reviewed scientific data regarding OP exposure and potential health effects, specifically, birth and neurodevelopmental effects. The entire 600-plus page peer reviewed analysis can be found here.

Recently, a number of epidemiology (human) studies have reported associations between prenatal (maternal) or early childhood exposure to low levels OPs, and adverse birth and neurodevelopmental outcomes. These studies (the methods used, the evidence used, and the associations reported) have recently been evaluated, based on well-established, peerreviewed science (Reiss et al. 2015). Based on these analyses, the reported associations between exposure and birth and neurodevelopmental outcomes are weak, and the measured OP levels in the studies are too low to cause a meaningful effect. The exposures reported in the studies are well below the safe exposure levels set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). At low-level exposures to OPs, clear evidence of adverse birth or neurodevelopmental outcomes has not been demonstrated in humans. Further data are needed in order establish any connections between low-level OP exposure and any resulting birth or neurodevelopmental effects.