The Struggle to Ban Pesticides That Disrupt Brain Development

TUE, JUL 5, 2022 (37:53)

For almost 30 years, Dr. Philip Landrigan and other distinguished scientists appealed to the EPA to ban chlorpyrifos and widely used pesticides known to impair brain development.

The link between chlorpyrifos and brain disorders such as autism and ADHD was well known for years, but the manufacturers of this toxin were able to block efforts to ban chlorpyrifos. Dr. Landrigan explains the effects of this toxin, and also scientists’ decades-long effort to protect pregnant women, children, and farm workers and communities.

This struggle has raised the question: Who does the Environmental Protection Agency protect: industry or the public?

+ BIO: Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, FAAP

Dr. Landrigan is a pediatrician, public health physician and epidemiologist, with a distinguished history of research on toxins that affect brain development.

His early research influenced the US government’s decision to remove lead (highly toxic to developing brain) from paint and gasoline. In the 1990’s he led research at the National Academy of Sciences that defined children’s unique susceptibilities to pesticides and other toxic chemicals, which influenced US pesticide policy.

While at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (he is Icahn emeritus professor), Dr. Landrigan’s studies on the 9/11 rescue workers revealed high levels of abnormalities of pulmonary function. From 2015 to 2017, he co-chaired the Lancet Commission on Pollution & Health, which reported that pollution causes 9 million deaths annually and is an existential threat to planetary health.

He continues the work of the Lancet Commission now as Director of the Boston College Global Observatory on Planetary Health.

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