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Report Reveals Hazardous Pesticide Use in North Carolina Child Care Centers

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, May 5, 2009) Parents and child care providers work hard to provide a loving, stimulating environment that is safe for children, yet they may be exposing them to hazardous chemicals. A new report finds that more than half of surveyed child care providers use broadcast spray and/or “bug bombs” in their centers. The report, Avoiding Big Risks for Small Kids: Results of the 2008 NC Child Care Pest Control Survey, by the nonprofit group Toxic Free NC, is based on a survey of 89 child care providers from across North Carolina who answered questions about pests, pesticides and safety at their facilities. “As a pediatrician and a mother, I believe we should be avoiding the use of toxic chemicals in children’s environments,” says Katherine Shea, M.D., M.P.H. “Child care centers, where our youngest and most vulnerable children spend time eating and sleeping, playing and learning, should be safe and free from known chemical hazards like pesticides.” Babies and young children are among the most likely age groups to suffer long-term harm to their health from exposure to pesticides. Numerous scientific studies have connected pesticide exposure in early life to an increased risk of asthma, harm to growing brains, […]

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EPA Says “Lock Up Pesticides,” Fails to Promote Alternatives

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, March 18, 2008) To kick off National Poison Prevention Week on March 17, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is urging people to “lock up” their pesticides to protect children —stopping far short of advising the public on non-toxic methods of pest management. According to public health advocates, EPA, as a facilitator and apologist for the unnecessary use of highly toxic pesticides that it registers missed an important opportunity during National Poison Prevention Week to alert families with children about integrated management and organic methods that are effective but not reliant on hazardous methods. “With the wide availability of non-toxic methods and products, there is no reason for people to have poisonous pesticides in their homes and risk their children’s exposure,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. Despite numerous scientific studies that show children carrying a body burden of pesticides used in homes and elevated rates of childhood cancer in households that use pesticides, given children special vulnerability to pesticides, EPA chose to focus on pesticide poisoning of children associated with accidental ingestion. The agency launched the week with the headline “Play It Safe, Prevent Poisonings, Lock Up Pesticides” and the quote, “The U.S. Environmental Protection […]

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Study Links Household Pesticide Use to Childhood Cancer

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

(Beyond Pesticides, December 6, 2007) A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives this month finds that children born to mothers living in households with pesticide use during pregnancy have over twice as much risk of getting cancer, specifically acute leukemia (AL) or non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). The study, Household Exposure to Pesticides and Risk of Childhood Hematopoietic Malignancies: The ESCALE Study (SFCE), 115:1787—1793 (2007) , investigates the role of household exposure to pesticides in the etiology of childhood hematopoietic malignancies, using the national registry-based case—control study ESCALE (Etude sur les cancers de l’enfant) that was carried out in France over the period 2003—2004. The researchers evaluated maternal household use of pesticides during pregnancy and paternal use during pregnancy or childhood which was reported by the mothers in a structured telephone questionnaire. Insecticides (used at home, on pets or for garden crops), herbicides and fungicides were distinguished. The researchers estimated odds ratios (ORs) using unconditional regression models closely adjusting for age, sex, degree of urbanization, and type of housing (flat or house). The researchers included a total of 764 cases of acute leukemia (AL), 130 of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), 166 of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) , and 1,681 controls. Insecticide use during pregnancy […]

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New Study Links Parental Pesticide Exposure to Leukemia

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

(Beyond Pesticides, August 28, 2007) In a new study published in the August 2007 issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health (Vol. 33, No. 4), researchers from the Central American Institute for Studies on Toxic Substances (IRET) in Costa Rica find parental exposure to pesticides linked to the increased risk of leukemia. IRET researchers, based at the National University of Costa Rica in Heredia, identified cases of childhood leukemia (N=334), in 1995-2000, on the Cancer Registry and the Children’s Hospital. Population controls (N=579) were drawn from the National Birth Registry. Interviews of parents were conducted using conventional and icon-based calendar forms. An exposure model was constructed for 25 pesticides in five time periods. Mothers’ exposures to any pesticides during the year before conception and during the first and second trimesters are associated with the risk [odds ratio (OR) 2.4, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.0-5.9; OR 2.2, 95% CI 2.8-171.5; OR 4.5, 95% CI 1.4-14.7, respectively] and during anytime (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.0-4.8). An association is found for fathers’ exposures to any pesticides during the second trimester (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.0-2.3). An increased risk with respect to organophosphates is found for mothers during the first […]

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Report Notes Greater Environmental Risks to Boys

Monday, July 16th, 2007

(Beyond Pesticides, July 16, 2007) In its report released on Father’s Day 2007, “Men, Boys and Environmental Threats,” the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment urges greater awareness among parents about environmental risks to boys. “All children are at risk from exposure to environmental hazards, but boys appear to be at greater risk,” said Dr. Lynn Marshall, MD, with the Ontario College of Family Physicians. The report summarizes the evidence about environmental risks to boys, specifically examining cancer, asthma, learning and behavioral disorders, birth defects and testicular dysgenesis syndrome. Below is a summary of the report’s findings. Cancer: Although cancer is rare among all children, more boys are diagnosed with cancer than girls. Among young adults (age 20—44) several cancers are on the rise, including testicular cancer. Concern arises over parents’ exposures before conception or during pregnancy. Childhood cancers are associated with exposures to pesticides, solvents, petroleum products, motor vehicle exhaust, benzene and other pollutants. Much remains unknown. Since cancer involves problems with cell division, it is logical that exposures during times of rapid cell division (especially in the womb) likely pose the greatest risk. Asthma: In the past 20 years there has been a dramatic rise in asthma […]

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