Minimizing Children's Exposure to Pesticides is Prudent
Do pesticides cause special problems for children? A new review of a series of research studies completed during the last decade suggests that the answer to this question is yes, and that we need to be sure that children are being exposed to pesticides as little as possible.
How was the review conducted?
A toxicologist from the University of Minnesota School of Medicine reviewed over a hundred studies about children and pesticides. The specific subjects of the studies included exposure, poisonings, cancer, birth defects, and behavior. The conclusions of these studies are summarized in the new review.
What did the review find?
Here are the results of some of the important studies included in this review:
- Children are exposed to pesticides, often insecticides, in their
food and water, as well as to insecticides that are used in around their
homes. Children are also exposed to lawn care herbicides, which can be tracked
from lawns inside houses.
- The Minnesota Poison Control Center found that half of all pesticide poisonings occur in children less than three years old.
- Exposure to some insecticides is linked to disruptions of the sex chromosome in sperm. This is the genetic material that determines the sex of the child fathered by that sperm.
- Families of pesticide applicators have more miscarriages than families not exposed to pesticides at work.
- Children in families that use professional pest control services are at higher risk of developing leukemia than children in families that don't use pesticides.
- A laboratory study suggests a link between exposure to certain
insecticides and hyperactivity.
Study Summary: Garry, V.F. 2004. Pesticides and children. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 98(2):152-63