Not Zika Virus, Monsanto’s Insecticide Pyriproxyfen in Drinking Water is Behind the Rising Microcephaly Cases in Brazil.
Zika Microcephaly Outbreak Caused by Monsanto Pesticide.
A story going viral over internet mentions the rising Microcephaly cases in Brazil stating that its alleged link to Zika Virus outbreak is not a fact, and that Monsanto’s insecticide Pyriproxyfen used in Drinking Water is the actual reason behind it. As detailed below, the claims in the story are not facts.
Origin of Story
In early Feb. 2016, a group of doctors from Argentina calling themselves as ‘Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Villages’ issued an explosive report that denied the global scientific consensus on the Zika Virus Outbreak and its apparent link to increase in cases of the birth defect Microcephaly in Brazil. They said officials failed to recognize that in the area where most sick persons live, a poisonous larvicide Pyriproxyfen was applied by the State on drinking water for 18 months. They claimed that this larvicide Pyriproxyfen, manufactured by Sumimoto Chemical, a Japanese subsidiary of Monsanto, could be the reason behind the increase in Microcephaly cases in babies born in Brazil; not the Zika virus outbreak. Once the report gained some media presence, one of Brazil’s state Rio Grande do Sul suspended the use of Pyriproxyfen and prohibited its use to treat water used for human consumption. This is how the report and claims spread like wildfire across the internet. However, there are known flaws suggested in the report and the conclusions within.
Firstly, Pyriproxyfen is a very mild larvicide used in water tanks to eliminate mosquito larvae, it is recommended by World Health Organization WHO, and has been used since the late-1990s. A team of WHO scientists who reviewed the data on the toxicology of pyriproxyfen did not find any evidence that the larvicide affects the course of pregnancy or the development of a fetus. Even Brazilian health officials denied the links between the well-known pesticide and microcephaly. Both WHO and Brazilian health officials disagree with Rio Grande do Sul’s authorities about the need to impose a ban on pyriproxyfen. Notably, the Brazil’s Ministry of Health has mentioned that some other states that do not treat their water with the pesticide pyriproxyfen have also reported microcephaly cases.
Moreover, after the claim about the Monsanto and the Zika Virus became popular, Monsanto came up to say on their blog monsantoblog.com that they do not manufacture or sell Pyriproxyfen, and the Sumitomo Chemical Company is one of their business partners in the area of crop protection; that they do not own the Company. The Sumitomo Chemical Company also said that the larvicide Pyriproxyfen “[…] is safe and effective for the use in combating diseases spread by mosquitoes, and that the concerns related to microcephaly are totally unfounded.”
So considering all the aforementioned facts and flaws, it is certain that the story saying the alleged Zika Microcephaly Outbreak is actually caused by Monsanto Pesticide Pyriproxyfen is a hoax. As of this writing, the World Health Organization maintains that there’s growing evidence of a link between the Zika Virus and Microcephaly.
Hoax or Fact: