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Organophosphate pesticides are neurotoxins. They are commonly used in agriculture areas. The two most commonly used organophosphate insecticides are Chlorpyrifos and Diazinon. Their use in domestic spraying were banned by the EPA, largely because of neurological injury to children. 

Children in New York displayed autistic spectrum disorders such as ADH and ADHD. 

The most recent contribution has come from CHAMACOS of California. Seven-year-old children exposed in utero were tested for neurocognitive deficits. The study concludes: 

“Prenatal but not postnatal urinary DAP concentrations were associated with poorer intellectual development in 7-year-old children. Maternal urinary DAP concentrations in the present study were higher but nonetheless within the range of levels measured in the general U.S. population.”

Prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides and IQ in 7-year-old children.

Bouchard MF, Chevrier J, Harley KG, Kogut K, Vedar M, Calderon N, Trujillo C, Johnson C, Bradman A, Barr DB, Eskenazi B. 

University of California-Berkeley, Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health, School of Public Health, Berkeley, California 94704, USA.



Organophosphate (OP) pesticides are neurotoxic at high doses. Few studies have examined whether chronic exposure at lower levels could adversely affect children's cognitive development.


We examined associations between prenatal and postnatal exposure to OP pesticides and cognitive abilities in school-age children.


We conducted a birth cohort study (Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas study) among predominantly Latino farmworker families from an agricultural community in California. We assessed exposure to OP pesticides by measuring dialkyl phosphate (DAP) metabolites in urine collected during pregnancy and from children at 6 months and 1, 2, 3.5, and 5 years of age. We administered the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, 4th edition, to 329 children 7 years of age. Analyses were adjusted for maternal education and intelligence, Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment score, and language of cognitive assessment.


Urinary DAP concentrations measured during the first and second half of pregnancy had similar relations to cognitive scores, so we used the average of concentrations measured during pregnancy in further analyses. Average maternal DAP concentrations were associated with poorer scores for Working Memory, Processing Speed, Verbal Comprehension, Perceptual Reasoning, and Full-Scale intelligence quotient (IQ). Children in the highest quintile of maternal DAP concentrations had an average deficit of 7.0 IQ points compared with those in the lowest quintile. However, children's urinary DAP concentrations were not consistently associated with cognitive scores.


Prenatal but not postnatal urinary DAP concentrations were associated with poorer intellectual development in 7-year-old children. Maternal urinary DAP concentrations in the present study were higher but nonetheless within the range of levels measured in the general U.S. population.
Organophosphate pesticide warning

Organophosphate pesticides are toxic

Spraying organophosphate pesticides

Organophosphophate pesticide spraying

The following abstract also discusses the role of organophosphorous pesticides and neurodegeneration.

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2012;724:189-204. 

Neurodegenerations induced by organophosphorous compounds.

Hargreaves AJ. 

School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK,


Organophosphorous compounds (OPs) are widely used in agriculture, industry and the home. Though best known for their acute effects when used as pesticides, which target acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in neuromuscular junctions and the central nervous system, not all OPs are potent inhibitors of this enzyme. 

The widespread use of OPs has heightened concern regarding their toxicity in man, with numerous reports linking OPs to various forms of delayed neuropathy encompassing a range of neurodegenerative, psychological and neurobehavioral effects. There is mounting evidence to suggest that sub-acute levels of OPs have the ability to interact directly with a range of target proteins in addition to AChE (i.e., noncholinergic targets), causing major disruption of membrane and protein turnover, protein phosphorylation, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress and cytoskeletal re-organisation, although the mechanisms involved are not fully understood. However, major advances have been made in the study of one OP binding protein neuropathy target esterase (NTE) in terms of its true physiological role. 

Additionally, there is increasing evidence for the ability of OPs to cause disruption in a number of metabolic and cell signalling pathways that affect neuronal cell proliferation, differentiation and survival and to interact direct with non-esterase proteins such as tubulin. The aim of this chapter is to review our current understanding of delayed neurotoxicity, to discuss how these molecular events may relate to each other and to suggest possible future directions in mechanistic studies of OP toxicity.

PMID: 22411244

Here's another paper on this topic:

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Urinary
Metabolites of Organophosphate Pesticides

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