MAKE SURE YOUR LAWN IS SAFE FOR YOUR CHILDREN.
How Do Pesticides Affect Our Children?Pound for pound, children have much higher exposures to pesticides than adults do, just through normal daily activity. And what’s especially frightening is how vulnerable children’s brains are to pesticides during fetal and early childhood development. Researchers are learning that children’s developmental processes are easily disrupted by small amounts of toxic chemicals; amounts that would be virtually harmless for adults. Most people are “not aware of the hazards that the unthinking use of pesticides poses to their children,” says Philip Landrigan, dean for global health and a professor of pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Pesticides include herbicides to kill weeds and insecticides, such as those sprayed to manage cockroaches and other pests. Because children are growing quickly, Landrigan says, “they take into their bodies more of the pesticides that are in the food, water, and air.” Plus, children roll around in the grass and put their fingers in their mouths, which greatly increases exposure. Did you know that more than three million children under five die each year from environment-related causes and conditions? That statistic comes from the World Health Organization (WHO) and is a number we should not tolerate.
Why Are Pesticides So Toxic to Children?The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) lists many reasons why pesticides are more toxic to children:
- An infant’s brain, nervous system, and organs are still developing after birth.
- A baby’s immature liver and kidneys cannot remove pesticides from the body as well as an adult’s liver and kidneys.
- Infants take more breaths per minute and have more skin surface relative to their body weight.
- Children often spend more time closer to the ground, touching baseboards and lawns where pesticides may have been applied.
- Children often eat and drink more relative to their body weight than adults. This can lead to a higher dose of pesticide residue per pound of body weight.
- Babies crawl on treated lawns and carpeting. Crawling may dislodge pesticide residue onto a baby’s skin. The baby also breathes in pesticide-laden dust.
- Young children are also more likely to put their fingers, toys, and other objects into their mouths.