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Environmental Disease in Children Estimated at $76.6 Billion Annually

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, May 10, 2011) In three new studies published in the May issue of the journal Health Affairs (Vol. 30, No. 5), Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers reveal the staggering economic impact of toxic chemicals and air pollutants in the environment, and propose new legislation to mandate testing of new chemicals and also those already on the market. The studies, “Environmental Disease in Kids Cost $76.6 Billion in 2008,” “Children’s Vulnerability to Toxic Chemicals,” and “Pollutants and Respiratory Illness in Infants,” are available on the Health Affairs website. Leonardo Trasande, MD, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine and Pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, analyzed the costs of conditions — including lead poisoning, childhood cancer, asthma, autism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — associated with exposure to toxic chemicals. Dr. Trasande and his team calculated the annual cost for direct medical care and the indirect costs, such as parents’ lost work days, and lost economic productivity caring for their children, of these diseases in children. The researchers found the annual cost in the United States to be an estimated $76.6 billion, representing 3.5 percent of all U.S. health care costs in 2008. The breakdown includes: lead poisoning […]

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Report Examines Impact of Pesticides on Farmworker Children

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, April 26, 2011) One year after the President’s Cancer Panel released its groundbreaking report highlighting environmental causes of cancer, the non-profit Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) released a new report, Dangerous Exposure: Farmworker Children and Pesticides. The report focuses on farmworker children, examining birth defects, neurological and behavior disorders, respiratory disease, as well as leukemia and other childhood cancers and their connections to pesticides. “The weight of evidence described in our report, Dangerous Exposure: Farmworker Children and Pesticides, is overwhelming, if not conclusive,” notes Levy Schroeder, Director of Health & Safety Programs at AFOP. “The risk is high for farmworker children whose lives are surrounded by dangerous agricultural toxins.” In a ten-month immersion in evidence-based findings on pesticide exposures, farmworker children and various illnesses, including cancer, the AFOP Health and Safety team reviewed primary scientific research published in professional medical and public health journals. In an effort to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the issue of pesticide exposure to farmworker children, the team also conducted focus groups and interviews with farmworker parents around the country. The parents shared stories of exposure, of having to make choices they know are not healthy for their children, of their […]

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New Report Shows Pesticide Exposure Associated with Certain Cancers

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, July 6, 2010) A review report published last Friday highlights that some research studies indicate that pesticide exposure either prior to conception, during pregnancy or during childhood appears to increase the risk of childhood cancer, with maternal pesticide exposure during pregnancy being most consistently associated with childhood cancer. Furthermore, the report notes that several studies indicate that farmers are at greater risk of developing certain cancers than the general population. In particular, several studies strongly suggest that pesticide exposures are associated with some cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), leukemia, prostate cancer and other hormone related cancers. The report, A Review of the Role Pesticides Play in Some Cancers: Children, farmers and pesticide users at risk?, is published by the United Kingdom organization CHEM (Chemicals, Health and Environment Monitoring) Trust. “Pesticide exposures may interact with other chemical exposures and genetic factors, to cause cancer. Research suggests that pregnant women, in particular, should avoid direct exposure to pesticides, if possible,” said Gwynne Lyons, Director of CHEM Trust and report co-author. “It is high time that the UK was more supportive of EU proposals to take a tougher approach to reducing exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. If the UK is to […]

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This National Poison Prevention Week Lose the Pesticides for the Kids

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, March 17, 2009) “Children Act Fast…So Do Poisons” is the message that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sending in conjunction with the Poison Prevention Week Council to keep poisonous substances out of the hands of children. In observance of the annual National Poison Prevention Week (March 14-20), EPA recommends locking up household cleaners, disinfectants, solvents and other materials as the best way to reduce accidental poisoning among children. However, Beyond Pesticides advises the public to throw out poisonous chemicals and utilize non-toxic methods of pest management. While it is wise to keep all potentially harmful household products out of the reach and hands of children, Beyond Pesticides recommends to the public to abandon poisonous chemicals and instead practice non-toxic methods of pest management and use least-toxic chemicals where possible. EPA continues to facilitate and apologize for the unnecessary use of highly toxic pesticides, disinfectants, solvents and other hazardous materials that it registers, and misses every year the important opportunity during National Poison Prevention Week to alert families with children about integrated pest management and organic methods that are effective, but not reliant on hazardous methods. Numerous scientific studies that show children carrying a body burden of […]

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Children Living Near Agricultural Pesticide Use Have Higher Cancer Rate

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, September 29, 2009) A new study reveals that children exposed to agricultural pesticides applied near their home have up to twice the risk of developing the most common form of childhood leukemia, according to the Northern California Cancer Center (NCCC). The study, “Residential proximity to agricultural pesticide applications and childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia,” published in the October issue of Environmental Research, used a unique California database to reveal an elevated risk in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) among children living near applications of certain categories of pesticides used in agriculture. The study, led by Rudolph Rull, Ph.D., shows an elevated risk of ALL associated with moderate exposure, but not high exposure, to pesticides classified as organophosphates (odds ratio (OR) 1.6), chlorophenoxy herbicides (OR 2.0), and triazines (OR 1.9), and with agricultural pesticides used as insecticides (OR 1.5) or fumigants (OR 1.7). California is one of the few states in the country that requires active reporting of pesticide applications, including time, place, and the type and amount of pesticide used. For this study, researchers were able to link children’s entire residential histories from birth to the time of case diagnosis to this pesticide-use reporting database and identify agricultural pesticides that […]

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Common Household Pesticides Linked To Childhood Cancer

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2009) A new study by researchers at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University finds a higher level of common household pesticides in the urine of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer that develops most commonly between three and seven years of age. The findings are published in the August issue of the journal Therapeutic Drug Monitoring. Researchers, in the study entitled, “Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and Exposure to Pesticides,” caution that these findings, which do not establish a cause-and-effect relationship, suggest an association between pesticide exposure and development of childhood ALL. “In our study, we compared urine samples from children with ALL and their mothers with healthy children and their moms. We found elevated levels of common household pesticides more often in the mother-child pairs affected by cancer,” says the study’s lead investigator, Offie Soldin, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at Lombardi. Dr. Soldin cautions, “We shouldn’t assume that pesticides caused these cancers, but our findings certainly support the need for more robust research in this area.” Previous studies have found that exposures to certain pesticides increases the risk of developing certain cancers and degenerative diseases. The study was conducted between January 2005 and […]

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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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