Warn Public To Avoid Pesticides
(Beyond Pesticides, April 26, 2004) The Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) in Canada is strongly recommending that people reduce their exposure to pesticides wherever possible, after releasing a comprehensive review of research on the effects of pesticides on human health. Released on April 23, 2004, Systematic Review of Pesticides Human Health Effects shows consistent pesticide links to serious illnesses such as cancer, reproductive problems and neurological diseases, among others. The study also shows that children are particularly vulnerable to pesticides.
The review found consistent evidence of the health risks to patients with exposure to pesticides. "Many of the health problems linked with pesticide use are serious and difficult to treat - so we are advocating reducing exposure to pesticides and prevention of harm as the best approach," said Dr. Margaret Sanborn of McMaster University, one of the review's authors.
Principle Findings of the Review:
Children are constantly exposed to low levels of pesticides in their food and environment, yet there have been few studies on the long-term effects of these exposures. Nevertheless, the College reviewed several studies that found associations between pesticide exposures and cancer in children. Key findings include:
What the Public
Given the wide range of commonly used home and garden products associated with health effects, the College's overall message to patients is to avoid exposure to all pesticides whenever and wherever possible. This includes reducing both occupational exposures, as well as lower level exposures that occur from the use of pesticides in homes, gardens and public green space. The College also advocates exposure reduction techniques such as:
What Family Physicians
In the wake of this systemic review, the College is advocating that family physicians take the following measures:
The Ontario College of Family Physicians is a provincial chapter of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and is a voluntary, not-for-profit association that promotes family medicine in Ontario through leadership, education and advocacy. The OCFP represents more than 6,700 family physicians providing care for remote, rural, suburban, urban and inner-city populations in Ontario.
The OCFP is the voice of family medicine in Ontario. At the heart of the organization is the building and maintenance of high standards of practice and the continuous improvement of access to quality family practice services for all residents of Ontario.
The OCFP Study is available on the Ontario College's website. For more information contact: Josh Cobden or Jennifer Casey, Environics Communications, 416-920-9000, [email protected]; Jan Kasperski, Ontario College of Family Physicians, 416-867-9646, [email protected].
TAKE ACTION: Download a copy of the Canadian report and share it with your doctor and with the local and state medical society in your state. For a list of the state medical societies in your state, go to the website directory of the American Medical Association and click on your state. Please send Beyond Pesticides a copy of the letter you send to your state and local medical society and any response that you receive.