Microcephaly: Pesticides once again in the crosshairs

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Microcephaly: Pesticides once again in the crosshairs

Originally published on gmwatch.org.

Doctors and researchers say the widespread use of the toxic chemicals heavily promoted by the chemical and pharmaceutical industry to combat mosquitoes is not preventing the spread of Zika virus, but is putting at risk the health of the general population

Below is an interesting article by the Argentine journalist Dario Aranda, who has reported for years on the problems caused by the spraying of pesticides on GM soy and other crops.

The article explains how concerns about the spread of dengue and the Zika virus, and the microcephaly increase in Brazil, are being exploited by pesticide firms. 

Microcephaly is a birth defect in which the baby is born with an abnormally small head.

Although evidence is now beginning to emerge that suggests that the Zika virus may have a role in some cases of microcephaly, Aranda reports the concerns of researchers that pesticides may also be a factor.

He also reveals the immense lobbying effort by pesticide companies, in collaboration with government officials, behind the organisation of vast spraying programmes to combat Zika-carrying mosquitoes, even though the mosquitoes are known to be resistant to many chemicals. The companies’ lobby group is even reportedly promising people that they can “save human lives and prevent malformations” by opening the doors and windows of their houses during the spraying, so that the pesticide can penetrate their homes.

The critical perspective presented in Aranda's article has all but been stamped out in the English-speaking media. There is a determined effort to convince the world that there can only be one cause of the microcephaly increase and that is the Zika virus. But this hypothesis still lacks the kind of evidence that could prove causality.

Between the notion that all the microcephaly cases are solely caused by Zika, and the opposing notion that Zika is not responsible, there are many plausible intervening hypotheses. These include the possibility that Zika is a co-factor, together with other agents such as pesticides, or that Zika is responsible for some, but not all, of the cases of microcephaly and that pesticides may be responsible for other cases. All possible hypotheses should be explored and firm conclusions should only be drawn on the basis of evidence of causality.

A climate of fear is being generated around the Zika virus that is not as yet justified by the state of the evidence. The resulting panic is being exploited by corporate interests that are indifferent to the risks of exposing people to the mass spraying of inadequately tested pesticides, many of which are endocrine disruptors, reproductive toxins, and/or linked to birth defects.

More GMWatch coverage of the Zika virus and microcephaly:
Argentine and Brazilian doctors name larvicide as potential cause of microcephaly
Brazilian government denies microcephaly/larvicide link
Zika, microcephaly, and pesticides: Half-truths, hysteria, and vested interests 
What did Brazilian public health researchers really say about Zika, pesticides, and birth defects? 

Get more information on pesticides on GreenMedInfo.com's research dashboard. 

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

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Sayer Ji
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