Study Finds that Common Chemical Found in Insecticides May Cause a Serious and Rare Birth Defect known as Holoprosencephaly
Per an online article at dailymail.co.uk, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that a common household and agricultural pesticide known as Piperonyl butoxide (PBO) may be linked with the development of a rare birth defect.
PBO, per a study conducted on mice, may potentially cause holoprosencephaly (HPE), a brain disorder in which the forebrain of the embryo fails to develop into two hemispheres. While researchers cannot prove that humans will face the same results as lab mice, they are nonetheless urging that future trials be conducted on PBO to better ascertain its potential effects on humans.
PBO is a chemical that is widely use in mosquito repellants, house plant pesticides, as well as shampoos that are used to treat head lice. While there have been few studies conducted on PBO, it nonetheless has been deemed safe and not able to be absorbed in the body, which could lead to adverse effects, per the study.
The study indicates that PBO interferes with the sonic hedgehog pathway, which is critical for embryonic development. Disruptions in this pathway can cause serious developmental abnormalities in the skeleton, brain, and lungs.
Female mice who were given PBO had offspring with facial deformities and abnormally developed brains.
The study, led by Robert Lipinski, a professor of comparative biosciences, has been published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
According to Professor Lipinski, “we don’t know if PBO is contributing to birth defects in the human population. But our study suggests that more rigorous examination of PBO’s potential human health effects is warranted.”
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