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.
FACING SCIENTIFIC REALITIES, DEBUNKING THE “DOSE MAKES THE POISON” MYTH THE BIG PICTURE: LINKING PESTICIDE SCIENCE AND HEALTH EFFECTS Porter W.
Pesticides and You 27(4):16-23 (2008) http://www.beyondpesticides.org/infoservices/pesticidesandyou/Winter%2007-08/dose-poison-debunk.pdf
This is a written version of a speech presented by Dr. Warren Porter at the 25th National Pesticide Forum. He discussed the facts and scientific experiments conducted on children with regard to pesticide poisoning. Many of these experiments and studies are presented in this document.
His speech also explains how pesticides are built to be fat and water soluble via inert ingredients to help brake through and penetrate plants surfaces that are very similar to our own skin and lungs.
Most concerning is Porter’s research and recognition that there is evidence through schools records that our children are being effected negatively. He determined in his local Madison school district that disabilities, including emotional and learning, as well as birth defects had jumped at least 70% each in a five year period. This is shocking! Porter then researched further to find Wisconsin, California, Pennsylvania and even Australia were all having huge increases of learning disabilities and behavioral disorders between 1990 and 1995.
This is astounding increases, leading to added costs for school, families and the medical industry. Below is one of the articles Dr. Porter spoke about.
EXPOSURES OF CHILDREN TO ORGANOPHOSPHATE PESTICIDES AND THEIR POTENTIAL ADVERSE HEALTH EFFECTS. Eskenazi, B, et al.
Environmental Health Perspectives107(Supp 3) (1999) http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/members/1999/suppl-3/409-419eskenazi/eskenazi-full.html
These authors reiterate the fact that children can be exposed to pesticides throughout normal exploration of their environment whether oral or dermal contact. Eskenazi et al. studied the use of organophosphate and carbamate pesticide use and the adverse effects on childhood developmental health.
Researchers found that acute exposure of OP and carbamate pesticides interfere with acetylcholine (ACh) causing over stimulation and accumulation. ACh, transmits motor neurons to skeletal muscles and nerve fibers of the parasympathetic, sympathetic, and central nervous system. Disturbances to the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the nervous system that help control internal organs at rest and during stress have far-ranging issues of respiratory health, blood pressure, vision, digestion and other unconscious functions. Since OP pesticides affect ACh and therefore alters autonomic regulation and control of airways; this pesticide is linked to the occurrence and severity of asthma in both children and adults.
The central nervous system is highly affected by alterations in ACh. Accumulation may cause “anxiety, headache, confusion, convulsions, ataxia, depression of respiration and circulation, slurred speech, tremor, and generalized weakness”.
175-F-96-001 (1996) http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/food/pest.htm
Infants and children are especially sensitive to health risks posed by pesticides. Pesticides may harm a developing child by blocking the absorption of important nutrients necessary for normal healthy growth. Pesticides may also cause harm if a child's excretory system is not fully developed, and therefore can not fully remove pesticides. Also, there are "critical periods" in human development when exposure to a toxin can permanently alter the way an individual's biological system operates.
DISTRIBUTION OF 2,4-D IN AIR AND ON SURFACES INSIDE RESIDENCES AFTER LAWN APPLICATIONS: COMPARING EXPOSURE ESTIMATES FROM VARIOUS MEDIA FOR YOUNG CHILDREN. Nishioka, M.G. et al.,
Environmental Health Perspectives 109(11):1185-1191 (2001) http://www.jstor.org/pss/3454867
After lawn application of 2,4-D, this herbicide was detected in indoor air and on all surfaces of homes. Estimated post-application indoor exposure levels for young children from non-dietary ingestion are estimated to be about ten times higher than the pre-application exposures.