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12 October 2005 | Printer friendly

Fungicide linked to neural tube defects (Norway)

A study that came out in Norway in spring 2005 on a population of 102,703 children from potato growers farming homes born between 1973 and 1991, found 131 of them have neural tube defects (spina bifida or hydrocephalus). That number makes the occurrence 60% higher than in the rest of the population.

The conclusion of the research; undertaken at the National Institute of Occupational Health in Oslo, is that there might be an association between growers’ exposure to the fungicide mancozeb - used against potato late blight - and the neural tube defects in their children. Indeed, the malformation has been found in animals exposed to degraded and metabolized Mancozeb: ethylenethiourea (ETU). The study aimed at cheking the effects on humans.

The fungicide is classified by PAN (Pesticide Action Network) North America with "Bad Actor" status for being a developmental or reproductive toxin, carcinogen and a suspected endocrine disruptor, and was recently re-approved for placing in the market in the EU Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health.

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