CHILDREN ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO THE IMPACTS OF PESTICIDES
Early-life exposure of children to pesticides
can damage their still-developing brain and nervous and other systems,
and disrupt mental and physiological growth.
Protect Our Children
Today, children are sicker than they were a generation ago. From childhood cancers to autism, birth defects and asthma, a wide range of childhood diseases and disorders are on the rise. Our assessment of the latest science leaves little room for doubt: pesticides are one key driver of this sobering trend. New studies find pesticides can compromise intelligence. The widespread use of pesticides in agriculture and food, homes, schools, gardens and public places exposes millions of children and adults worldwide to the harmful effects of these toxic chemicals, and consequently to some debilitating and life-long health problems. Children in India face a far worse situation. They are exposed to various chemicals right from mothers womb throughout infancy, childhood and adolescence. Among the various toxins, pesticides are of specific concern. By allowing children to be exposed to toxins (or to chemicals of unknown toxicity), we are “unwittingly using our children as part of a massive experiment” and deprive them of reaching their peak cognitive abilities. ‘Protect our children’ is a campaign by Pesticide Action Network family which addresses various concerns of children exposing to pesticides.
Children are NO Little Adults
Children are the most affected due to the hazardous nature of pesticides because their young bodies are developing, therefore have higher metabolic rates and absorb toxins faster. Thus they are highly vulnerable to the worse effects caused by pesticides, ranging from birth and developmental defects to physical and mental abnormalities, hormonal disruption and carcinogenic effects. For several reasons, they face far greater risks of exposure than adults. Compared to adults, children breathe more air, eat more food and drink more water per unit of body weight which leads to greater exposure in a pesticide-contaminated environment. Early-life exposure can damage their still-developing brain and nervous and other systems, and disrupt mental and physiological growth, leading to a range of diseases and disorders. These include birth defects, cognitive and behavioural problems affecting intelligence, learning ability and social interactions, disruption of hormonal, reproductive and immune systems, cancers, and metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes.
Pesticides are linked with the lowering of intelligence in children and learning disorders – a matter of serious concern
Mounting scientific evidence now shows that even low-level exposure to pesticides – way below what is generally considered safe – in the womb and early childhood poses a serious threat to children’s normal growth and health. The growing evidence that pesticides are linked with the lowering of intelligence in children and learning disorders like Autism and ADHD is a matter of serious concern that cannot be ignored. We are concerned about the impact of pesticides on children’s growing brains as their blood brain barrier are not fully formed and is more permeable to pesticides than adults. There are increasing rates of ADHD, developmental disorders, autisms over the last few years. Thus children are highly vulnerable to the worse effects caused by pesticides, ranging from birth and developmental defects to physical and mental abnormalities, hormonal disruption and carcinogenic effects. In the light of the scientific data available to date, PAN Asia Pacific has identified 20 highly hazardous pesticides that cause harm to children.
pesticides and pesticide residues are reaching to body of children, rightly from the womb before birth and from the surroundings and through food after birth
Many scientific studies from around the globe have pointed that pesticides and pesticide residues are reaching to body of children, rightly from the womb before birth and from the surroundings and through food after birth. Pesticides are being noticed for their inter-generational impacts as well. Reports from various sources reveals that many of the pesticides approved for use in the country are totally unsafe to humans and the environment.
In October 2012, Pesticides Action Network North America (PANNA) published A Generation in Jeopardy: How pesticides are undermining our children’s health and intelligence. The following year in 2013, Pesticides Action Network Asia Pacific (PANAP) produced publication entitled Poisoning our Future: Children and Pesticides. Both publications aim to underscore the fact that children are increasingly presenting with health problems that are correlated with use of pesticides. Research carried out by PANNA confirms that children today have higher rates of childhood cancers, autism, birth defects, asthma and a wide range of childhood diseases and disorders and that pesticides are implicated as causative factors.
Children are the most affected due to the hazardous nature of pesticides because their young bodies are developing, therefore have higher metabolic rates and absorb toxins faster. Thus they are highly vulnerable to the worse effects caused by pesticides, ranging from birth and developmental defects to physical and mental abnormalities, hormonal disruption and carcinogenic effects. In the light of the scientific data available to date, PAN International community has launched an international campaign – Protect Our Children from Toxic Pesticides – addressing the issues and concerns.
Children and Pesticide - The Indian Scenario
Children in India face a far worse situation. Organophosphates (Ops) like chlorpyrifos are still widely used in India. From 2005 to 2009 alone, more than 7,163 metric tons of chlorpyrifos were used in India, based on government data. Meanwhile, monocrotophos, an OP partially banned for use in vegetables in India, caused the deaths of 23 children in Bihar in 2013 after contaminating their mid-day meal. Further, brain-harming pesticides like malathion, diazinon, diclorvos, and parathion have been restricted or banned in the US and EU but are still registered for use in India.
Aside from direct poisoning, related literature also shows a similar impact of harmful pesticides on Indian children’s intelligence. A 2005 study by Kavithta Kuruganthi on cotton plantations in Gujarat, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh shows that children highly exposed to pesticides performed worse in 80% of the tasks involving memory, analytical skills and problem solving skills compared to children who were less exposed to pesticides. Kuruganthi’s study covered 1,648 children aged between 5 to 13 years old. They were not directly involved in cotton production but were exposed to toxic pesticides through foetal exposure and contaminated environments in their school, homes and food.
“Little Things Matter”
Protect Our Children from Toxic Pesticides - Exclusive Indian tour with Dr. Bruce Lanphear
PAN India Launches National Campaign
Given the realities of impacts of pesticides on children, PAN India and other likeminded organisations and groups have decided to launch the Protect Our Children from Toxic Pesticides campaign in India.
The campaign in India – Programme Details
PAN India along with PAN Asia Pacific, PAN North America and local partners organised the speaking tour based on the research behind the video, “Little Things Matter: The Impact of Toxins on the Developing Brain”
The campaign was exclusively targeted on youth, medical students & medical professionals, civil society groups, social activists and other interested groups. A total of eleven programs were organized in the cities of Bangalore, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Trivandrum with the support from local partners and organisers. As part of the campaign, talk by Dr. Lanphear is organised at these 11 venues.
Little Things Matter – concern over pesticides and children
Children in India are being exposed to various environmental toxins, like pesticides, mercury, lead and other chemicals. Many of these chemicals have been banned in other countries and are linked to lowered intelligence, learning disabilities and behavioural disorders. These chemicals are so tiny they cannot be seen by the naked eye. Why would tiny chemicals matter? And how does it impact the intelligence of children?
Join the exciting exclusive Indian tour with Dr. Bruce Lanphear, M.D., M.P.H that explores why “Little Things Matter” and how environmental toxins like pesticides impact children’s intelligence