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Citation: Bayer A. Argentine physicians claim Monsanto larvicide is true cause of microcephaly.

Int J Hum Nutr Funct Med

2016 epub in press

International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine



• Environmental Contamination • Toxicology • Pesticide Neurotoxicity

Argentine physicians claim Monsanto larvicide

is true cause of microcephaly

Alicia Bayer

Annotated bibliography added by


Staff during review process

Recent introduction of pesticide to affected

regions is more likely cause of microcephaly than

is Zika virus which has been in the region for

dozens of years

An Argentine physicians' group has come forward to

challenge the notion that the mosquito-spread Zika virus is

responsible for a recent increase in Brazilian babies born

with the birth defect microcephaly, saying that a toxic

larvicide introduced into the area's water supplies is the real


The group, which calls itself Physicians in the Crop-

Sprayed Towns, notes that a chemical larvicide that produces

malformations in mosquitoes was introduced into the

drinking water supply in 2014. This poison, Pyriproxyfen,

was used in a massive state-run program aimed at controlling

the mosquito population. Pyriproxyfen is manufactured by

Sumimoto Chemical, a Japanese subsidiary of Monsanto.

The doctors point out that previous Zika epidemics did not

cause birth defects in newborns, despite infecting 75% of the

population in those countries. They also note that in other

countries such as Colombia there are no records of

microcephaly, yet there are plenty of Zika cases. Indeed, the

allegations come soon after the president of Colombia

announced that thousands of its residents are infected with

the Zika virus, yet not a single case of microcephaly has been

found in that country.

Microcephaly is generally a relatively rare birth defect in

which the baby is born with an abnormally small head and

often has brain damage. It was quickly linked to the Zika

virus by the Brazilian Ministry of Health and various media

outlets. However, it has never been linked to exposure to the

Zika virus in the past. The organization released a report that


A dramatic increase of congenital malformations,

especially microcephaly in newborns, was detected and

quickly linked to the Zika virus by the Brazilian Ministry

of Health. However, they fail to recognize that in the area

where most sick persons live, a chemical larvicide

producing malformations in mosquitoes has been applied

for 18 months, and that this poison (pyroproxyfen) is

applied by the State on drinking water used by the affected

population. Pyroproxyfen is applied directly by the

Brazilian Ministry of Health on drinking-water reservoirs

used by the people of Pernambuco, where the

proliferation of the Aedes mosquito is very high (a

situation similar to the Pacific Islands).(6) This poison,

recommended by the WHO, is a growth inhibitor of

mosquito larvae, which alters the development process

larva-pupa-adult, thus generating malformations in

developing mosquitoes and causing their death or


The group is angry at the mass spraying, saying that it is only

making people sicker and not helping solve the problem.

They wrote:

Massive spreading using planes, as the governments of

Mercosur are considering, is criminal, useless, and a

political manoeuvre to simulate that actions are taken.

The basis of the progress of the disease lies in inequality

and poverty, and the best defence are community-based


The report further noted that malformations have been

detected in thousands of children from pregnant women

living in areas where the Brazilian state added pyriproxyfen

to drinking water and say that it "is not a coincidence." It

condemns the Ministry of Health for blaming the Zika virus,

further noting that of 3,893 cases of malformations

confirmed until late January, 49 children have died and only

five of them were confirmed to have been infected with Zika.

The Brazilian public health organization Doctors from the

Brazilian Association for Collective Health, also known as

Abrasco, also condemned the mass spraying as a public

health risk and a possible cause of the microcephaly

epidemic. In a scathing report about the health crisis, they

wrote that "a very lucrative business cartel, which operates

throughout the world and that even with evidence of the risks

caused by organophosphates and pyrethroids," is being

supported the health agencies that are supposed to be looking

out for the health of the people, such as the World Health

Organization (WHO). Abrasco wrote:

One must also question the use of chemicals on a scale

that ignores the biological and environmental

vulnerability of individuals and communities. The

consumption of such substances by the public health care

only to their producers and marketers of these poisons.


They also point out that the health risks of these chemicals

are already proven and well known, writing:

A simple consultation of the chemical safety data sheets

of these products delivered by companies to public health

authorities shows that these products, such as the