Pesticides: Risks To Children

Just like adults, children are exposed to commonly-used pesticides every day in their homes and schools. There are several factors, however, that lead to an increased risk of harmful exposure in children compared to adults. Since a child's body is still growing, they may be susceptible to pesticides which prevent the absorption of nutrients needed for their natural, healthy development. Children also eat more food and drink more water in relation to their body weight than adults, thereby increasing their chances of consuming greater quantities of pesticides used to treat our consumables. Because children spend more time playing in yards or on floors, they also experience greater exposure to lawn pesticides as well as disinfectant cleaners. Some toxins have a detrimental effect at critical stages of a child's biological system development and can lead to permanent impairment.

For these reasons, the Environmental Protection Agency keeps close watch on the amount of pesticides used in the production of the foods most commonly eaten by children such as fruits and vegetables, sugar, eggs, and meat. The EPA aims to maintain exposure to pesticides from food at a safe level. In addition, the EPA has established guidelines for the safe storage of harmful substances in the home (locked cabinets at a distance greater than four feet off the ground). Under the pesticide law also regulated by the EPA, household products that have a warning on the label are required to have child-resistant packaging. All of these precautions are no substitute for proper attention to safety by the adults in a household to prevent accidental poisoning from pesticide ingestion or exposure.

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