Insecticides Linked To Delayed Motor Skills In Babies

Editorial Team

In this day and age, where Malaria and Zika virus are two of the most dangerous diseases especially during pregnancy we have all been advised to protect ourselves from mosquito bites. A lot of people in Nigeria turn to insecticides to help them kill and protect themselves from mosquito bites. While some people make use of treated mosquito nets, we would all agree that the most common form of eradicating mosquitoes in Nigerian homes are Insecticides.

In the light of how much insecticides are used by practically everyone, some researchers have discovered a link between Insecticides and delayed motor skills in children.  As reported by Cable News Network, Naled the main chemical ingredient in the bug spray used to ward off Zika-carrying mosquitoes  has an association with reduced motor function in babies.

The University of Michigan researchers found that children in China who had the highest prenatal exposure to naled had, at age 9 months, 3% to 4% lower scores on tests of their fine motor skills, which are the small movements of hands, fingers, face, mouth and feet, compared with those with the lowest exposure.

For the study, the researchers examined the umbilical cord blood of about 240 mothers for 30 organophosphate insecticides. Five of these chemicals -- naled, methamidophos, trichlorfon, chlorpyrifos and phorate -- showed up in at least 10% of the cord blood samples.

At 6 weeks and 9 months, the babies' motor skills were tested using the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales, a well-known assessment tool that looks at gross, fine and total motor abilities. The assessment also looks at reflexes, stationary (body control), locomotion (movement), grasping and visual-motor integration (eyes and hands coordinated). At 6 weeks, none of the babies showed deficits in their motor skills.

At 9 months, the researchers found deficits in motor function in infants with prenatal exposure to naled. Girls appeared to be more sensitive to naled's effects on motor function than boys, the researchers noted in their study.

European Union conducted its own review of naled that found it degrades to a toxic chemical, in the presence of sunlight, and according to the EU scientific commission, this can cause genetic mutations. As a result, the EU has banned agricultural use of products containing naled.