Health Effects on Children
LONGITUDINAL TRENDS IN ORGANOPHOSPHATE INCIDENTS REPORTED TO THE NATIONAL PESTICIDE INFORMATION CENTER, 1995–2007. Stone DL, Sudakin DL, and Jenkins JJ.
Environmental Health, 8:18 (2009) http://www.ehjournal.net/content/8/1/18
The organophosphate (OP) pesticides, diazinon and chlorpyrifos, were determined to have certain properties that made them especially dangerous for children and it was announced that their use would be phased out.
Diazinon is an insecticide commonly used on fruit, vegetable, nut and field crops as well as to make eartags for cattle. This pesticide is considered highly toxic to birds and bees and moderately toxic to fish. Chlorpyrifos, also an insecticide, is commonly used on lawns, gardens, soil, in households and animal flea collars as well as agriculture. Chlorpyrifos, is considered extremely toxic to birds and other wildlife, posing serious hazard to honeybees.
This study reviewed the number of OP-related incidents both before and after the regulations to determine the effect that the regulations imposed upon them. Researchers observed a sharp drop in diazinon and chlorpyrifos related incidents immediately following the announcement of the phase-outs. Through public announcement and regulatory action, we can decrease unnecessary risks and incidents. To date, these products are still available for sale and not phased out.
NON-CANCER HEALTH EFFECTS OF PESTICIDES: SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND IMPLICATIONS FOR FAMILY DOCTORS. Sanborn M. et al.,
Canada Family Physician 53(10):1712-1720 (2007) http://www.cfp.ca/cgi/content/abstract/53/10/1712
The objective of this investigation was to find any associations between pesticide exposure and “four chronic non-cancer health effects: dermatologic, neurologic, reproductive, and genotoxic effects.” Data was gathered from three online medical journal databases: PreMedline, MEDLINE, and LILACS. A total of 124 studies since 1992 were included in this overview.
Conclusions: Research evidence consistently associates pesticide exposure to three of the four chronic health effects. Sound evidence is apparent for all neurologic and genotoxicity outcomes. As well as evidence of “four of six reproductive effects: birth defects, fetal death, altered growth, and other outcomes”. Genetic damage was commonly increased two-fold in relation to pesticide exposure. Dermatologic health effects (dermatitis) were most commonly found in high level exposure cases, usually due to pesticide use on the job.
Canadian Family Physician, 53:pp1704-1711 (2007) http://www.cfp.ca/cgi/content/full/53/10/1704
The Ontario College of Family Physicians (similar to the American Medical Association) reviewed 102 studies that were published from 1992 to 2003 that established evidence of cancer incidences related to the use of pesticides. The reviews of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and leukemia related studies consistently presented links to pesticide exposure. Studies also confirmed that exposure to pesticides by pregnant women and children were linked to cancer.
Researchers mention several times that some children with cancer had associations solely because their parents were exposed to pesticides at their place of employment. Cancers predominately linked to pesticide exposure were: brain, prostate, and kidney cancers, with increased risks reported to children.
Pediatrics. 113(4):1030-1036 (2004) http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/113/Supplement_3/1030
This article on childhood health risks related to acute accidental exposure to pesticides recommends further study and awareness of symptoms, as well as more training for general health care practitioners to recognize the symptoms of pesticide poisoning.
PRINCIPLES FOR EVALUATING HEALTH RISKS IN CHILDREN ASSOCIATED WITH EXPOSURE TO CHEMICALS. Louis G, et al.,
Environmental Health Criteria: 237 World Health Organization. (2006) http://waterwebster.org/documents/WHOJuly272007.pdf
Environmental factors play a major role in determining the health and well-being of children. Accumulating evidence indicates that children, who comprise over one third of the world’s population, are among the most vulnerable of the world’s population and that environmental factors can affect children’s health quite differently from adults’ health. Children have increased risk due to biological susceptibility and increased exposure from normal activities than adults. Increased biological susceptibility simply means that although external exposure to toxins may be similar in adults and children, a child’s growing body deals with chemicals differently and therefore may cause elevated amounts of toxins to be absorbed and reach organs. However, most risk assessment is created for the average adult. Furthermore, because children possess a higher food intake with less variation, a higher inhalation rate and more surface area to body weight than adults, exposure estimation needs to be reevaluated for children. Moreover, because child-protective risk assessment is still a new concept, it is essential we limit our children’s exposure during vulnerable periods from preconception to adolescence, i.e. school years.
Although children share the same environment parents and care givers do, they interact much closer with all surfaces and materials while exploring and learning, crawling and tasting and touching. Classroom teachers, principals, caregivers, after school and daycare providers, coaches and building employees and staff are all exposed. However, children due to their size and vulnerability of developing brains, immune systems, respiratory systems are particular vulnerable.
In the following section, articles of particular interest include THE ENVIRONMENT AND CHILDREN’S HEALTH from the American Public Health Association and ACCUMULATION OF CHLORPYRIFOS ON RESIDENTIAL SURFACES AND TOYS ACCESSIBLE TO CHILDREN from Rutgers University and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Even if we supply our best efforts to secure bottles and bags of pesticides by locking cabinets, doors and just plain not keeping them around; ability to drift, persistence in the environment and accumulation are all known qualities of pesticides and will continue to affect our children.
When all products are removed from households prior to arrival of a child, there is still risk. It has been established that pesticides can remain in dust and on surfaces for prolonged periods of time. Even if pesticides are used as directed and exposure to areas where applied are restricted until the suggested time period, the chemicals still remain. Breakdown of pesticides can be a lengthy process and in certain conditions can takes years. Although many pesticides are now claimed to be non-persistent, with biologic half-lives of hours or days, studies have found these pesticides remaining in our bodies. According to EPA Grant Study: “Measurement of Non-Persistent Pesticides in Postpartum Meconium as a Biomarker of Prenatal Exposure: A Validation Study” Laessig, Susan A. et al., (2000-2005) organophosphates and others non-persistent pesticides were found in postpartum meconium, umbilical cord blood and maternal urine samples during pregnancy. Three insecticides most frequently detected were the pyrethroid: permethrin, and the organophosphates chlorpyrifos and diazinon. All of which are considered dangerous to children.
So, if all surfaces in the house are clean, toys are organic and pesticide use has been non existent for over a year, is there still a risk? Drift is a common concern of pesticide use, especially for those pesticides in the form of sprays and dust. Research has determined that pesticides have a great ability to travel through air.
The journal article “Community Exposure Following A Drip-Application Of Chloropicrin” from The Journal of Agromedicine (2010) investigates and reports one episode of drift in California when citizens began reporting ocular symptoms. This community experienced a drift from living downwind from an agricultural operation. Risk of exposure was suggested to be more than two miles. Living downwind from and agricultural region is not a concern for all but drift is of concern to anyone who lives near those applying pesticides, whether lawn, garden, school or playground.
With pesticides remaining on surfaces, drifting through windows and doors, being tracked in on shoes, etc. it is easy to see how a susceptible child, playing on the floor or ground is subject to an accumulation of pesticides.
Chelsea Green Publishing Company. (2010) http://www.chelseagreen.com/content/announcing-poisoned-for-profit-now-available/
Poisoned for Profit is a revolutionary book that not only explains where, why and how our children are being effected by toxic chemicals but also asks why we are allowing corporation to “commit these crimes against our children, sabotage investigations and regulations, hire scientists to skew data on toxic impacts, and fend off government controls with powerful lobbying groups?”
Tremendous research is presented explaining why birth defects, asthma, and cancer are souring in the children of the “baby boomers” and gererations following. Authors also show how people are fighting back and taking action across the country. From investigating sickness clusters and eliminating toxic products to contacting politicians, we can help ourselves.
PESTICIDES IN HOUSEHOLD DUST AND SOIL: EXPOSURE PATHWAYS FOR CHILDREN OF AGRICULTURAL FAMILIES. Simcox N.J. et al.,
Environmental Health Perspectives 103(12):1126–1134 (1995) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1519258/
This study performed in Washington State studied dust and soil samples from the play-area of children. 59 residence were used including: 26 houses located for farming, 22 where a farmworker lived and 11 nonfarming familes. Control homes were at least a quarter mile away from any orchard using pesticides. Results found that children living on farms have a higher potential for OP pesticide exposure than those not living in an agricultural location. However, Azcnphosmettyl was found in dust samples from all the homes studied, indicating exposure throughout the region. Also, concentrations in dust samples are higher than soil which may be due to drift.
CONCENTRATIONS OF SELECTIVE METABOLITES OF ORGANOPHOSPHORUS PESTICIDES IN THE UNITED STATES POPULATION. Dana B. Barr et al.,
Environmental Research 99(3):314-326 (2005) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2005.03.012
Concentrations of four major agrochemicals were measured through urine samples of participants, 6 to 59 years of age. Chlorpyrifos methyl (TCPY) was discovered in over 96% of samples. Other organophosphorous pesticides were detected less frequently but still in upwards of 22% of the samples. This report reveals that adolescents have a significantly higher level of TCPY than adults, and children 6 to 11 years old have even higher concentrations than adolescents. Results of this study confirm that children are more susceptible to chemical exposure than adults.
Environmental Health Perspectives 107(3):431-437 (1999) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1566233/
Children at play interact closely with the ground and exhibit hand to mouth behavior. Their lack of ability to detoxify and excrete pesticides makes them especially vulnerable to the toxic effects of pesticides. Authors of this study suggest that, to prevent the toxic and developmental effects of pesticides on children, especially in urban areas where pesticides are common in schools, playgrounds and buildings, we need a complete strategy. A strategy that continuously monitors patterns of pesticide use, assesses exposures to children and uses modern toxicity testing. As well as, institutes public goals for reduction of pesticide use.