11th December 2012:
(Available to UK Residents Only)
Government advisers on the Committee on Toxicity have been sent a new review on organophosphates which suggests that low level exposure causes damage to the brain and nervous system. Dr Sarah Mackenzie Ross, a neuropsychologist from University College London is one of the authors of the meta-analysis – a systematic review of the best available evidence – and she tells Claudia Hammond that the evidence suggests that people who have been exposed to low levels of organophosphates have impaired cognitive function.
Organophospate pesticides are the most widely used insecticides in the world in agriculture and horticulture. They’re also used in industry as lubricants, plasticizers and flame-retardants and pest-control teams use them too. But it’s been known for some time, despite their importance in food production and disease prevention, that in high doses, they damage the brain and the nervous system. What’s more controversial is whether there is a risk from low-level exposure to organophosphates, so this latest publication will be of interest to the Committee on Toxicity which is currently reviewing this subject.
Click here to listen to the full show (skip to 20 mins 54 secs for the interview with Dr. Sarah MacKenzie Ross (UCL))