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A European Parliament report has claimed that an estimated 13 million IQ points are lost amongst EU citizens annually as a direct result of pesticide exposure – and this costs the EU around $140 billion every year.
It has been reported in some outlets that this number may be even higher as the report ‘failed to take into account the possible impact of pesticides on diseases like Parkinson’s, diabetes and some types of cancer’.
The report says that some pesticides are far more dangerous than previously thought – and can cause brain damage, or ‘adverse mental development’ in children years after exposure in the womb.
Pesticide residue detected in pregnant women can lead to these issues, with affected children showing a delay in mental development by the age of two and ‘poorer intellectual development’ by seven.
According to the report: ““At least 100 different pesticides … [are] known to cause adverse neurological effects in adults and all of these substances must therefore be suspected of being capable of damaging developing brains as well.”
Study authors suggested choosing organic produce was linked to decreased risk of developmental issues – going as far as to say that the ‘potential risks to human health are largely avoided’ when organic is favoured. A link between organic food consumption and lowered risk of allergic diseases as well as ‘potential benefits for overweight or obesity people’ was also put forward.
The report also highlighted the environmental benefits of organic food.
The European Parliament challenged the regulatory process when it comes to pesticides, concluding that ‘important gaps remain’ when it comes to risk assessments.
This is not the first time pesticides have come in for criticism – the use of certain pesticides has already been restricted by the EU, due to their negative impact on bees.