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Israel bans some pesticides linked to brain damage

Israel's health ministry has banned pesticides linked to neurological damage.

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Farm children at dramatically higher risk of death, injury according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

For the past five years, there has been a fivefold increase in Israeli residents complaining about insecticides. Israel's Health Ministry has responded by banning some of the more toxic insecticides used in farming, Haaretz reported. Agricultural workers are most at risk from pesticide use. Pregnant women living in agricultural areas are also at risk of having children affected by pesticides.

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The Israeli government is focusing the ban on a type of pesticide called organophosophates. Growing evidence has linked organophosophates to a number of health problems, including neurological damage. A recent study found brain abnormalities in children exposed to organophosophates while in the womb. And an Israeli study conducted two years ago found an unusually high rate of Parkinson's Disease in Baka al-Garbiyeh, because of insecticide exposure, Haaretz reported.

Despite this, there are still 37 different types of organophosophates that can be used in the United States, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health

The recent Israeli government report, meanwhile, criticized the lack of action taken so far to reduce insecticide use in Israel. "Every gust of wind brings insecticide and disinfectant particles into the residents' homes every day," the report says, according to Haaretz. "The residents approached Israel Nature and Parks Authority rangers numerous times due to concern over the long-term impact of the substances."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/120514/israel-bans-pesticides-linked-brain-damage