This Is Your Brain on Poison
Susan Freinkel’s “Warning Signs: Pesticides and the Young Brain” [March 31] should be required reading for everyone who cares about the well-being of children (and thus, about our future), especially for those who believe that childhood vaccines cause autism. A mountain of solid evidence from all over the world indicates no connection between immunization and autism; this article presents some of the compelling evidence that the tsunami of toxic compounds is responsible for neurodevelopmental and endocrine-disruptor damage in children. How much better for us all if the movement blaming vaccinations for autism came to appreciate this evidence and turned its sights away from life-saving vaccines and onto industrial toxins as the likelier source of this heartbreaking epidemic.
Alan Meyers, MD, MPH
Professor of pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine
This is excellent, important research, beautifully reported. We believe there is a place for a lower-budget but higher-numbers version of such research, linking environmental exposures to important child outcomes. Evidence is mounting that pesticides and other neurotoxins are harming not only wildlife but also our children. We are collecting information from parents of children on the autism spectrum. Our questionnaires may be found at mappingautism.com.
Emily Diamond, PsyD
James M. Diamond, MD
Reading “Warning Signs” on pesticides and their impact on farmworkers and their families brought back memories from my childhood in the early 1940s. I remember working in the fields while an airplane sprayed them. We were so impressed by the aircraft, we paid no attention to the pesticides falling on us. The plight of the farmworker—the efforts of the late Cesar Chavez and others notwithstanding—has not improved much since then.
Your in-depth look at the effects of pesticides exposes a serious public health risk that must be addressed aggressively through the work of community advocates, independent researchers and federal agencies.
The CHAMACOS study is an excellent example of the kind of independent, community-based research that is needed to learn more about the effects of pesticide exposure in farmworker communities and ways to protect workers and their families. The current system of pesticide regulation relies too heavily on industry-sponsored data, hindering the ability of public health officials, safety experts, medical personnel, employers and consumers to make decisions that protect workers.