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Pesticides and Children

The following is quoted from the Canadian Institute of Child Health Position Statement on Pesticides and Child Health:

"Children are especially vulnerable to health threats from environmental hazards. Pound for pound children eat, drink and breathe more than does an adult, resulting in a relatively higher dose of any environmental contaminant.

Their body has different capabilities to rid itself of contaminants - the detoxification abilities of very young children are less than an adult's. Young children have more hand to mouth contact than do adults and one way that infants explore their world is to put objects in their mouths: as a result they are likely to ingest more contaminants. Children are nearer to the ground than adults resulting in a greater exposure to many contaminants. Young children cannot read and often will not pay attention to signs and warnings - they will go onto a recently sprayed lawn!

Lastly it is important to note that the foetus and child are growing and developing very quickly. Brain development is exceedingly complex and occurs early in life, other organs mature less quickly. Although the processes involved in human growth are not yet fully understood, they are known to be exceedingly complex and dependent on thousands of chemical messages. Manufactured pesticides are effective because they are toxic chemicals. It is easy to see how a small exposure to such toxic substances could cause a profound effect that might not become apparent until long after the exposure, a particularly important consideration with regards to children".

The CICH stated to the Standing Committee on Health of the Canadian Parliament on April 25, 2002 that:

"In the case of pesticides to be used for purely cosmetic reasons around schools, child care centres and homes, we feel that the only acceptable risk is zero risk, as there is no justification for risking a child's health for a weed free lawn!"

For more information on the special sensitivity to pesticides of children see:
US EPA: Pesticides - Protecting Children

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