Pesticides Causing Brain Damage to be Banned by Israel

pesticides israelDown side of crop dusting is pesticides that cause neurological damage:  photo by Alberto Denkberg/Haaretz

Air and water pollution in Israel from insecticides, oil and other petroleum-based residues from older gas stations; and other chemicals are feared to be causing neurological damage to people according to new studies. Various forms of insecticides, especially the use of insecticides containing three types of organophosphate substances will be stopped in two months by the Israel Health Ministry, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. 

The use of insecticides and pesticides by kibbutzim and moshavim (cooperative settlements) have resulted in a number of complaints by residents that residues from these chemical agents are showing up in new neighborhoods that are being constructed nearby. Studies are finding that chemical ingredients such as organophosphates are affecting various parts of the body; especially the nervous system. In areas where these chemicals are being applied, there is higher incidence of Parkinson’s and attention deficit disorders.

A large increase in the number of complaints by residents in the areas affected by the pesticides resulted in the problem being mentioned in the annual report made by the State Comptrollers Office in which the following statement was issued: “Every gust of wind brings insecticide and disinfectant particles into the residents’ homes every day. The residents approached Israel Nature and Parks Authority rangers numerous times due to concern over the long-term impact of the substances.”

Pesticide effects in utero

The organophosphate  substances mentioned can affect the  fertility, growth, and development of males and females. It particularly affects people  like agricultural workers who are continuously exposed to the substances; as well as pregnant women, where prenatal fetuses have been linked to impaired fetal growth and development.

Higher doses of the pesticides can result in what is known as organophosphate poisoning, poisoning  that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, coma and respiratory failure.

The impact on the level of exposure to human health by these pesticides is being studied by  Prof. Yoram Finkelstein, the director of Shaare Zedek Medical Center’s Neurology and Toxicology Unit and Service, who has been investigating the problem. He is being assisted byAmit Ophir, a PhD student who is conducting the study under Finkelstein’s supervision.

Their preliminary findings on these issues were presented recently at Harvard University.

Studies dealing with exposure to pesticides in the USA are investigating a possible link between the substances and neurological disorders in children, including autism. This is all the more reason to eat organic and support local farms that are growing food with earth-friendly approaches like permaculture.

:: Haaretz/Alberto Denkbereg

Read more on the effects of pesticides and other poisons on  public  health:

Beware: Peppers, Pears and Grapes from Turkey are The Most Toxic Produce in Europe, Study Finds
Water Pollution in Israel Threatens People, Animals, and Plants
Old Gas Stations Still Polluting Israel’s Ground Water

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