Neonicotinoid pesticides, which have been increasingly blamed for the collapse of bee populations, may also impact human’s developing nervous system, according to a review of research by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The EFSA says that current safety guidelines for two pesticides—acetamiprid and imidacloprid—may be too lax to protect humans, especially the developing brains of unborn children.
“Acetamiprid and imidacloprid may adversely affect the development of neurons and brain structures associated with functions such as learning and memory,” according to a press release from the EFSA. The finding is based on recent research published in PLoS ONE where scientists found that newborn rats exposed to the chemicals experienced movement issues, shrinking brains, reactionary problems, and weight loss.
THe EFSA recommends raising the safety limits of both the chemicals based on the research, though it notes that . However, the recommendation still has to be accepted by the European Commission.
“EFSA recognizes the available evidence has limitations and recommends further research be carried out to provide more robust data,” the organization said, but still said concerns over human health impacts were “legitimate.”