Brain Damage Caused by
Exposure to Lawn Pesticides

The pesticide MCPA, used as an ingredient in some lawn pesticides, has been found to damage a part of the brain known as the blood brain barrier (1). The blood brain barrier (BBB) is the brain's primary defense system which works to keep toxic substances out of the brain cells and is literally protecting all of us from developing immediate neurological illness. The blood brain barrier has been found to be defective more often in patients with Alzheimer's and some psychiatric disorders (2). In fact, the lack of functioning of the blood brain barrier in the human infant has been reported on many occasions as being the reason infants are often found to develop brain damage after exposure to common chemicals while an adult with a mature blood brain barrier does not.

Unfortunately, EPA neurotoxicologist Dr. Bill Sette stated EPA does not yet require chemical companies to test any of their pesticides for causing BBB damage. Another study of 56 men exposed to organophosphate pesticides detected memory problems, diffiiculty in maintaining alertness and focusing attention (3). Understanding BBB function is of critical importance to understanding why one individual can receive more damage to his/her nervous system than someone else. For more information on the BBB, check out this brain barrier


1. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 65:23, 1982
2. British Journal of Psychiatry, 141:273, 1982
3. Annual Reviews in Public Health, 7:461, 1986

Trade and Other Names: Trade or other names for MCPA or products containing it include: Agritox, Agroxone, Agrozone, Agsco MXL, Banlene, Blesal MC, Bordermaster, Cambilene, Cheyenne, Chimac Oxy, Chiptox, Class MCPA, Cornox Plus, Dakota,
Ded-Weed, Empal, Envoy, Gordon's Amine, Kilsem, Legumex, Malerbane, Mayclene, MCP, Mephanac, Midox, Phenoxylene, Rhomene, Rhonox, Sanaphen-M, Shamrox, Selectyl, Tiller, U 46 M-Fluid, Vacate, Weed-Rhap, and Zhelan. 

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