The fruit and vegetables that Americans bring home and cook up for their families are often laced with pest-killing chemicals known as acetamiprid and imidacloprid, members of the neonicotinoid class.
That sounds gross. Even grosser than these nearly unpronounceable chemical names are new findings out of Europe that the compounds may stunt the development of brains in fetuses and young children.
The discovery, by scientists working with rats for the European Food Safety Authority, has led to calls in Europe to further restrict the use of the neonic pesticides. From a press release put out by the authority:
The [Plant Protection Products and their Residues] Panel found that acetamiprid and imidacloprid may adversely affect the development of neurons and brain structures associated with functions such as learning and memory. It concluded that some current guidance levels for acceptable exposure to acetamiprid and imidacloprid may not be protective enough to safeguard against developmental neurotoxicity and should be reduced.
We say "further restrict" because the use of imidacloprid is already severely restricted in Europe, barred for two years from being used on flowering crops and plants because it kills bees and other pollinators.