The neonicotinoids insecticides expose pregnant women to hormonal disturbances which could affect the unborn babies, according to a Quebec scientific study.
If the effects of neonicotinoid insecticides have been studied on bees, they have been little studied on humans. However, a Canadian research organization, the National Institute for Scientific Research, has decided to study the impacts of these products on human health.
“To our knowledge, we are the first to issue a warning about the effect of neonicotinoids as endocrine disruptors on humans,” told Elyse Caron-Beaudouin, one of the researchers who participated in the study.
Neonicotinoids disrupt the normal estrogen production
In this study, the scientists focused on pregnant women. The researchers used a laboratory tool that mimics the cellular relationship between the fetus and the placenta.
The tool was then subjected to neonicotinoids at concentrations found in the environment of agricultural regions. As a result, it has been discovered that this insecticide disrupted normal hormonal function, increasing the aromatase production, which is involved in estrogen secretion.
This discovery is important because the development of the fetus depends on a normal production of estrogen and any disturbance can have serious consequences on the future newborn.
Thus, a smaller birth weight and a smaller head circumference can occur in the case of lower estrogen production, while, on the other hand, an increase in the production of estrogen promotes the development of cancer in the unborns.
Countermeasures against neonicotinoids are demanded in Canada
Researchers are now urging the Canadian government to combine their results with broader studies, regretting that this work came after these insecticides have been put on the market.
Contamination of the environment with neonicotinoids is general in Quebec, for example, where they are found in 99% of corn and canola fields (rapeseed variety) and in 50% of soybean crops. Besides, the presence of neonicotinoids has recently been found in the St. Lawrence River, Lawrence, and the Great Lakes, too.
According to this study, the neonicotinoids insecticides expose pregnant women to hormonal disturbances, which may have serious consequences on the fetuses, including a higher risk of cancer development.