Flaws found in industry-backed studies of commonly used pesticide

Findings from industry-funded toxicity studies of the commonly used pesticide chlorpyrifos that showed the product had no effects on neurodevelopment may be biased, misleading, and inaccurate, according to a new study.

The study examined raw data from animal research sponsored by Dow Chemical Company on chlorpyrifos and the related substance chlorpyrifos-methyl and found evidence that the chemicals were associated with changes in brain dimension of animals at all dose levels tested, though the industry reports did not note this finding. The researchers also raised concerns that some of the dosages of the chemicals used in the studies were too low to have any impact on nursing pups.

“If all of this raw data had been scrutinized properly, it should have at least required further testing to see if these findings were abnormal,” Philippe Grandjean, senior author of the study and adjunct professor of environmental health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a November 16, 2018 article in Environmental Health News. “In our minds, their [Dow’s] data are not appropriate to prove that [chlorpyrifos] is not a neurotoxicant.”

Read the Environmental Health News article: Industry studies show evidence of bias and misleading conclusions on widely used insecticide: Scientists

Learn more

Risks of PFASs known decades before research revealed, says expert (Harvard Chan School news)

Health risks of widely used chemicals may be underestimated (Harvard Chan School news)

PFASs, chemicals commonly found in environment, may interfere with body weight regulation (Harvard Chan School press release)