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Insecticide Previously Banned May Lead To Erectile Dysfunction Development, Research Shows

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court removed an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ban on the insecticide chlorpyrifos, which is linked to nervous system damage.

EPA Ban On Insecticide Linked To Nervous System Damage Removed By Federal Appeals Court

From The Hill:

A federal appeals court on Thursday is tossing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ban on a pesticide that has been linked to brain damage in children.

The decision from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to send the rule back to the agency does not preclude the agency from reinstating the ban in the future.

But it said the EPA needs to give greater consideration to whether there are cases where the pesticide, called chlorpyrifos, could be used safely.

Chlorpyrifos has been used as an insecticide, protecting crops like soybeans, broccoli, cauliflower and fruit trees.

The EPA banned chlorpyrifos for use in growing food in 2021. That came after a prior court ruling gave the agency just 60 days to either find a safe use for chlorpyrifos or ban it outright.

The appeals court determined that this deadline contributed to a rushed decision from EPA that was ultimately “arbitrary and capricious.”

The pesticide industry, chemical farmers, and their government allies can go back to poisoning all of us with #chlorpyrifos (a neurotoxin) in 2024. Poisoning America’s children. They call that a victory? We call it INSANE,” GMO Free USA commented.

“Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide linked to brain damage in children – used on corn, soybeans, alfalfa, apples, cherries, grapes, oranges, peaches, strawberries, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, tomatoes, almonds, pistachios, and walnuts, among other crops,” the group wrote.

From the National Pesticide Information Center:

Chlorpyrifos affects the nervous system of people, pets, and other animals the same way it affects the target pest. Signs and symptoms can appear within minutes to hours after exposure. These effects can last for days or even weeks. During this time, the body is replacing the depleted enzymes in the nervous system so it can function normally again.

Exposure to small amounts of chlorpyrifos can cause runny nose, tears, and increased saliva or drooling. People may sweat, and develop headache, nausea, and dizziness. More serious exposures can cause vomiting, abdominal muscle cramps, muscle twitching, tremors and weakness, and loss of coordination. Sometimes people develop diarrhea or blurred or darkened vision. In severe poisoning cases, exposure can lead to unconsciousness, loss of bladder and bowel control, convulsions, difficulty in breathing, and paralysis.

"According to research published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation, exposure to organophosphate (OP) insecticides, such as chlorpyrifos, may contribute to erectile dysfunction (ED) in men," 100 Percent Fed Up reports.

Exposure To Previously Banned Insecticide Positively Associated To Erectile Dysfunction, Study Suggests

From 100 Percent Fed Up:

“Among environmental contaminants, organophosphate (OP) insecticides represent one of the largest chemical classes, and chlorpyrifos is the most commonly used OP in the U.S. OP exposure has been implicated in driving biological processes, including inflammation, reactive oxygen species production, and endocrine and metabolism disruption, which have been demonstrated to adversely affect the hypothalamus and testes and may contribute to ED. Currently, studies evaluating the association between OPs and ED within the U.S. general population are sparse,” a study published in August 2023 read.

“The results of our study suggest a potential role for chlorpyrifos and other OPs the pathogenesis of ED. Future studies are warranted to validate these findings, determine clinical significance, and to investigate potential mechanisms underlying these associations,” the study’s conclusion stated.

According to Beyond Pesticides, ED is increasing among men on a global scale.

Read additional details at Beyond Pesticides:

Globally, ED is increasing, with over 300 million men expected to have ED by 2025. Although age and comorbid conditions (e.g., obesity, diabetes, and hypertension) play a role in ED prognosis, studies, including this one, suggest environmental contaminant exposure can also explain the increasing trend in ED. The study notes, “Future studies are warranted to corroborate these findings, determine clinical significance, and to investigate biological mechanisms underlying these associations.”

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers investigated urinary levels of 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCPy), a metabolite of the most common OP insecticide chlorpyrifos. Researchers compared urinary levels to patients who experienced ED, responding to a questionnaire indicating if the individuals were “sometimes able” or “never able” to achieve an erection. A linear and logistic regression compared sociodemographic variables between chlorpyrifos exposure to identify risk factors for exposure and ED and analyze the relationship between TCPy and ED. Of the 671 male patients in the study, about 37 percent have ED, with smoking, diabetes, aging, identifying as Mexican–American, and physical inactivity having the highest association with ED prevalence. However, the study highlights the increased odds of ED among individuals exposed to chlorpyrifos, with the risk of ED rising with increased exposure to the chemical.

The presence of pesticides in the body has implications for human health, especially during vulnerable life stages, such as childhood, puberty, pregnancy, and old age. For instance, prepubescent exposure to pesticides can impair male reproduction through the interruption of testicular homeostasis and the development of reproductive Leydig cells and can have multigenerational effects. Furthermore, pesticide pollutants in groundwater, soils, household products, and chemical manufacturing by-products are on a growing list of culprits causing developmental abnormalities such as impaired sperm quality and impotence. Reproductive health can be compromised if males are exposed at various times in life, spanning from in utero up to adulthood. Erectile dysfunction is reported in one-third of the U.S. male population and has links to chemicals in the environment. Vinclozolin, a fungicide commonly used in agriculture, can contaminate food and water supplies, and laboratory tests found that some male offspring of animals exposed to vinclozolin during pregnancy displayed a complete lack of interest in females.

“Despite the findings of this study and many other related to health effects from chlorpyrifos exposure, the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals vacated the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) 2021 decision to cancel all food tolerances for chlorpyrifos,” Beyond Pesticides noted.

Read the full study from the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation.


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