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Extramural Research

Boys More Vulnerable to Memory Impairment from Insecticide Chlorpyrifos than Girls

Megan Horton, PhD
STAR researcher Megan Horton at the Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Research Center at Columbia University has published research results showing that after prenatal exposure to the insecticide chrlorpyrifos (CPF), boys at age seven had greater memory impairment than girls with similar exposures, leading to an overall lower IQ. This study was published online in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology

The study follows two earlier ones that found the connection between CPF exposure and long-term changes in brain structure of a child causing impaired cognition as well as endocrine system disruptions, even in lower doses. The new study combined measurements of CPF, analyses of home environments and IQ tests over seven years.

Horton found that having a healthy home life, particularly supportive and nurturing parents lessened the memory difficulty in both genders but particularly in boys. This doesn’t lessen the cognitive damage however.  Chrlorpyrifos has been banned from household products since 2001, but agricultural and recreational areas still use it and it is used on highway meridians as well. CPF can be absorbed by inhalation or ingestion when it is on fruits and vegetables.

The EPA is committed to supporting children’s environmental health, has in a joint program with NIEHS, awarded research grants establishing over a dozen Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Research Centers around the country. Scientists at these centers work to understand how everything from vehicle exhaust and air pollution to diet and social factors impact children’s health. Their research is a key component in the EPA’s long-term campaign to improve the lives of children around the nation.

Press Release: Boys Appear To Be More Vulnerable Than Girls to the Insecticide Chlorpyrifos Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer

Article: Does the home environment and the sex of the child modify the adverse effects of prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos on child working memory? Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer

For more info on this research see:
Centers of Excellence in Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research
Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health
The Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health

For more info on the Columbia and Other Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Research Centers

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