Could chemicals — rather than the Zika virus — be to blame for birth defects in Brazil?

Ariana Cha and Lena Sun – Washington Post, 02/17/2016

While the rest of the world is focused on hunting down mosquitoes with Zika, a group of doctors and researchers in Argentina has published a report making the provocative argument that a pesticide, rather than the virus, is to blame for the alarming number of birth defects being reported in Brazil.

The University Network of Environment and Health wrote that pyriproxyfen, which is added to drinking water to stop the development of mosquito larvae, may be causing something in the fetal development process to go awry when ingested by pregnant women and may be leading to the babies being born with microcephaly — a condition defined by abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains.

That idea is one of a number of alternate theories about the cause of the crisis that has been making its way around social media in recent days and has prompted a swift rebuttal from health officials from the United States, Brazil and other regions.

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