Zika. Microcephaly. Monsanto. Insecticide: Who Is At Fault?

Correlation does not equal causation.

Correlation does not equal causation.

Oh, how we love to hate Monsanto. GMOs, herbicide resistance, “Forks Over Knives,” “GMO OMG,” #monsantoevil. Need I say more?

No, I needn’t. People hate Monsanto with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns. Why not blame them for the microcephaly purportedly caused by the Zika virus? Seems logical. Larvicide ingestion = birth defects. Right?

Not so fast.

A. The larvicide in question, pyriproxyfen, isn’t even made by Monsanto.


B. Correlation does not equal causation. That is to say, just because a larvicide/insecticide/Donald Trump is present in regions where defects are occurring, does not necessarily mean that it caused the defect.

Case in point: Let’s say, hypothetically, I have a cake in my kitchen (it’s hypothetically delicious, by the way). In this imagined situation, I drop and break a large glass and then cut my toe on a shard of said glass. Hypothetically, the cut becomes infected, and I develop gangrene. Hypothetically, my toe is amputated

I have no toe, and no cake because the cut/bleeding/infection/amputation was so time consuming, I forgot to eat the cake.

Blaming insecticide for birth defects, without any real scientific data to back that claim, is akin to blaming the cake for my (now missing) toe.


Are the Zika virus and profound birth defects, in Brazil and other countries, worth investigation? Absolutely.

But, Dr. Jen Gunter said it better than me (with the whole “being a doctor” thing), “The idea that pyriproxyfen could cause these birth defects is not biologically sound.” The larvicide in question works on processes that don’t even exist in humans. As such, there is no biological action in humans with which it can interfere.

In any case, Pyriproxyfen, like most chemicals, has been put through rigorous testing to ensure its safety.  And, you guessed it, found to be poorly absorbed, and then, what minute amount is absorbed, rapidly excreted.

Additional thoughts to consider: Would there be insecticide/larvicide present in the areas where the mosquitos live (and carry the Zika virus)? This is highly likely to be the case. Because where there are mosquitos there is hopefully something trying to eliminate them. Aforementioned larvicide (not definitively proven to be connected to the microcephaly at all), would, as one would expect, be used to kill the (probably) guilty mosquitos.

Further, of the 732 cases of the microcephaly studied, half weren’t microcephaly or not related to Zika at all. Life doesn’t even make sense anymore.

I’m likely to lose my hippie card altogether by saying this, but, we can’t blame Monsanto or insecticides or pesticides or herbicides or larvicides for everything.

I still had a baby in my kitchen, tandem nursed, and used cloth diapers, though. So even if I don’t hate Monsanto and I vaccinate, I think I retain a shred of credibility.

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