Daily News Archive
From August 14, 2000

University Study Finds Traces of Pesticides in Children

On August 10, 2001, The Seattle Times reported that University of Washington researchers have discovered traces of garden chemicals in the urine of dozens of Seattle-area preschool kids. The study, which focused on organophosphate pesticides like Dursban and Diazinon, found that 95 of 96 children tested were found to have minute amounts of pesticide in their urine. The researchers also noted that children whose families used pesticides in their gardens had significantly higher pesticide concentrations than those who had gardens but did not use any pesticides.

Although the concentrations in the children were low, researchers believe that long-term exposure, even minimally, represents a health risk and these toxic chemicals must always be used with caution. "What's the prudent thing to do? My approach has been: We should be cautious, not alarmists. We should take steps that are easy to take," Richard Fenske, a professor of environmental-health sciences who worked on the study told The Seattle Times.

The UW study and EPA rules have also prompted King County (Seattle) hazardous-waste officials to launch a public-awareness campaign aimed at promoting organic-gardening practices, a position supported by the University of Washington scientists. King County hazardous-waste officials have also been visiting area hardware stores, talking to consumers about organic alternatives to using chemicals, especially for lawn care, reported The Seattle Times.