When you spray pesticides to kill garden or household critters, douse your lawn with chemical herbicides, or spray your dog for fleas, you’re also exposing your kids (and yourself) to these toxins. Think about it: These concoctions are designed to kill insects and weeds. Even if you use them as directed, they still have the potential to cause a wide range of health problems in people because of their toxicity. Here are six cautions and alarming thoughts:
1. No one guarantees the safety of pesticides. Just because a product is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t mean it’s safe.
2. Pesticides have been traditionally treated as “innocent until proven guilty” by regulatory authorities. A generation ago, pesticides were considered to be relatively safe and effective chemicals that produced significant benefits to society.
3. Many older pesticides have not been thoroughly tested by today’s standards. These pesticides are still commonly used even thought complete testing of these older pesticides will take at least another 10 years.
4. Most pesticides in use today have not been tested for their health effects on children. This is a major problem. Recent scientific studies involving laboratory animals show that many pesticides damage the developing brain and nervous system.
5. Certain types of pesticides mimic hormones. Scientists have discovered that some pesticides have the ability to mimic or compete with hormones (the chemicals in our body that trigger development and functioning.
6. Many herbicides are know, probable, or suspected carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals).
Adapted from Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World,
by Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., Herbert L. Needleman, M.D., and Mary
Landrigan, M.P.A. Copyright (c) 2001 by Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., Herbert L. Needleman, M.D., and Mary
Landrigan, M.P.A. Reprinted by permission of Rodale Press.
Adapted from Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World, by Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., Herbert L. Needleman, M.D., and Mary Landrigan, M.P.A. (Rodale Press, 2001).