What are the herbicides related to memory loss?
Herbicides are the most used class of pesticides worldwide, with uses in agriculture, homes and industry.
Exposures to two of the most popular herbicides were associated with worse brain function among adolescents, according to a study led by researchers at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at University of California San Diego.
In the Oct. 11, 2023 online issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, the researchers reported measuring metabolite concentrations of two commonly used herbicides -; glyphosate and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) -; and the insect repellent DEET in urine samples collected in 2016 from 519 adolescents, aged 11 to 17, living in the agricultural county of Pedro Moncayo, Ecuador.
Researchers also assessed neurobehavioral performance in five areas: attention and inhibitory control, memory and learning, language, visuospatial processing, and social perception.
Glyphosate, a nonselective herbicide used in many crops, including corn and soy, and for vegetation control in residential settings, was detected in 98 percent of participants.
2,4-D, a broadleaf herbicide used on lawns, aquatic sites, and agricultural crops, was detected in 66 percent of participants.
Higher amounts of 2,4-D in urine were associated with lower neurobehavioral performance in the domains of attention and inhibitory control, memory and learning, and language.
Glyphosate concentration in urine was associated with lower scores in social perception only, while DEET metabolites were not associated with neurobehavioral performance.