Toxic Pesticide Chlorpyrifos Linked with Obesity: Study

We recently published a piece about the banning of the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos.   Shortly after the decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the use of the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos on food crops by early 2022, the results of a new study came out linking the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos with obesity…

Study overview

Researchers discovered that chlorpyrifos, which is banned for use on foods in Canada and will be banned for use on foods in the U.S. in early 2022, but is still widely sprayed on fruits and vegetables in many other parts of the world, slows down the burning of calories in the brown adipose tissue of mice. Reducing this burning of calories, a process known as diet-induced thermogenesis, causes the body to store these extra calories, promoting obesity. Scientists made the discovery after studying 34 commonly used pesticides and herbicides in brown fat cells and testing the effects of chlorpyrifos in mice fed high calorie diets.

“Lifestyle changes around diet and exercise rarely lead to sustained weight loss. We think part of the problem may be this intrinsic dialing back of the metabolic furnace by chlorpyrifos.”

-Dr. Gregory Steinberg, researcher and professor of medicine and co-director of the Centre for Metabolism, Obesity, and Diabetes Research at McMaster

woman in white leggings holding green and orange plant

What country do your fruits and vegetables come from…at the market you shop at…or restaurants you frequent? What pesticides are commonly used at the country of origin?  Do you even know?  Now that the scientific findings suggest we may have yet another reason to be concerned about toxic pesticides, it may be time to start learning the answers.

Journal Reference:  Bo Wang, Evangelia E. Tsakiridis, Shuman Zhang, Andrea Llanos, Eric M. Desjardins, Julian M. Yabut, Alexander E. Green, Emily A. Day, Brennan K. Smith, James S. V. Lally, Jianhan Wu, Amogelang R. Raphenya, Krishna A. Srinivasan, Andrew G. McArthur, Shingo Kajimura, Jagdish Suresh Patel, Michael G. Wade, Katherine M. Morrison, Alison C. Holloway, Gregory R. Steinberg. The pesticide chlorpyrifos promotes obesity by inhibiting diet-induced thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue. Nature Communications, 2021; 12 (1)

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-25384-y