Chlorpyrifos – The Health Dangers
Chlorpyrifos has been around for fifty years and has, till very recently, been passed off by the company that manufactures it as being safe for human health. Dow Chemical Company, USA has been distributing its products under the brand names Lorsban and Dursban around the world. When it was constrained from supplying it to homes for indoor and garden use, it continued selling it for agriculture and commercial use. In fact, in developing nations, it expressly states that it has an established record of being absolutely safe for humans and animals. This, however, is a blatant falsehood as in the nineties, Dow was pulled up and fined for suppressing reports that showed that the chemical was responsible for poisoning.
Chlorpyrifos is actually a neurotoxin and ingestion can cause a disruption in the transmission of nerve impulses. This can result in dizziness, headaches, loose motions, increased urination and salivation. When the ingestion is excessive, it could lead to paralysis, convulsions and even death. Chemicals like these are endocrine disruptors and their effects on the body can be disastrous as they also interfere with the regulated functioning of the hormonal system, making things run awry in the body.
Other effects and results that have been observed are instances of asthma, mental development problems when it affects children, ADHD in children, and lower birth weight when it affects a pregnant mother. It also affects the muscles and this could therefore have ill effects on the heart, the respiratory and the intestinal systems. Depending on the amount of chemical that is ingested, there could be any kind of effect from a muscle twitch or spasm to convulsions.
How does Chlorpyrifos enter the system? It could be through any kind of household insecticide – from termite control when the foundations of the house are being laid to controlling pests like fleas or cockroaches to agricultural produce which has had it sprayed on the crops or working in soil where it has been sprayed. You could even just be in a place where Chlorpyrifos has been sprayed and it could enter your system through your breathing. Pet flea collars also pose a threat to both humans and pets.