Lawns and landscapes can be effectively managed without through nonfood items, such as soil.4 toxic chemicals that are harmful to human health and ■ Studies find that pesticides such as the weedkiller 2,4-D the environment. This fact sheet on children’s vulner- pass from mother to child through umbilical cord blood ability to lawn pesticides provides the documented science on ■ Consistent observations have led investigators to conclude Children are especially vulnerable
that chronic low-dose exposure to certain pesticides might pose a hazard to the health and development of children.6 to pesticides
■ The National Academy of Sciences reports that children are Children, cancer and pesticides
more susceptible to chemicals than adults and estimates that 50% of lifetime pesticide exposure occurs during the ■ The probability of an effect such as cancer, which requires a period of time to develop after exposure, is enhanced if exposure occurs early in life.7 ■ EPA concurs that children take in more pesticides relative to body weight than adults and have developing organ ■ A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer systems that are more vulnerable and less able to detoxify Institute finds that household and garden pesticide use can increase the risk of childhood leukemia as much as seven-fold.8 ■ Infants crawling behavior accounts for a greater potential than adults for dermal exposure to contaminants on car- ■ Studies show that children living in households where pesticides are used suffer elevated rates of leukemia, brain cancer and soft tissue sarcoma.9 ■ Children with developmental delays and those younger than six years are at increased risk of ingesting pesticides ■ Pesticides can increase susceptibility to certain cancers by breaking down the immune system's surveillance against cancer cells. Infants and children, the aged and the chronically ill are at greatest risk from chemically induced Common Home and Garden Weedkillers
Lawn Chemical
Pounds Per Year*
■ The most commonly used nonagricultural herbicide, 2,4-D, has been linked to Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in scientific studies.11 A study published by the American Cancer Society finds an increased risk for Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) for people exposed to common herbicides and fungicides, particularly the weedkiller mecoprop (MCPP). People * EPA Pesticide Sales and Usage Report for 2000/2001.
exposed to glyphosate (found in Roundup®) are 2.7 times more likely to develop NHL.12 Alternatives
■ 75 out of all 99 human studies done on lymphoma and Develop healthy soil with the use of a slow-release pesticides find a link between the two.13 natural organic fertilizer to avoid weed problems. Corn gluten is an effective natural pre-emergent. Safe ■ Four peer-reviewed studies demonstrate the ability of spot treatments include fatty-acid soaps and botani- glyphosate-containing herbicides to cause genetic dam- cals such as vinegar or citrus-based products.
age to DNA (mutagenicity), even at very low concentra-tion levels.14 Beyond Pesticides/National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides A BEYOND PESTlClDES FACT SHEET A BEYOND PESTlClDES FACT SHEET A BEYOND PESTlClDES FACT SHEET
Children, asthma and pesticides
■ Additional studies on lawn pesticide product formulations show effects on learning ability, aggressiveness, memory, ■ A 2004 peer-reviewed study finds that young infants and motor skills and immune system function.25 toddlers exposed to herbicides (weedkillers) within their first year of life are four and a half times more likely to A 2002 peer-reviewed study finds children born to parents exposed to glyphosate (Roundup®) show a higher inci- develop asthma by the age of five, and almost two and a dence of attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity.26 half times more likely when exposed to insecticides. 17 ■ A study of 210,723 live births in Minnesota farming commu- ■ EPA material safety data sheets for the common her- nities finds children of pesticide applicators have significantly bicides 2,4-D, mecoprop, dicamba, (often combined higher rates of birth defects than the average population.27 as Trimec®) and glyphosate (Roundup®) list them as respiratory irritants that can cause irritation to skin and ■ In a 2004/2005 review of 2,4-D, EPA concurs that, “there mucous membranes, chest burning, coughing, nausea is a concern for endocrine disruption.”28 Pesticide accumulation and drift
Children, learning and developmental
disorders and pesticides
■ Children ages 6-11 nationwide have significantly higher levels of lawn pesticide residues in their bodies than all ■ Roughly one in six children in the U.S. has one or more developmental disability, ranging from a learning disability to a serious behavioral or emotional disorder.
Biomonitoring testing in Canada finds residues of lawn pesticides, such as 2,4-D and mecoprop, in 15 percent of ■ Scientists believe that the amount of toxic chemicals in the children tested, ages three to seven, whose parents had environment that cause developmental and neurological recently applied the lawn chemicals. Breakdown products damage are contributing to the rise of physical and mental of organophosphate pesticides are present in 98.7 percent ■ Studies show children’s developing organs create “early ■ Scientific studies show that 2,4-D applied to lawns drifts windows of great vulnerability” during which exposure and is tracked indoors where it settles in dust, air and to lawn pesticides can cause great damage.23 surfaces and may remain for up to a year in carpets.31 ■ Lawn pesticide products containing herbicides and fertil- ■ Samples from 120 Cape Cod homes, where elevated inci- izers (such as “weed and feed” products) tested on mice dence of breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancers are show increased risk of infertility, miscarriage and birth reported, find high indoor air and dust concentrations of Beyond Pesticides/National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides A BEYOND PESTlClDES FACT SHEET A BEYOND PESTlClDES FACT SHEET A BEYOND PESTlClDES FACT SHEET
1 National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences. 1993. Pesticides 13 Osburn, Susan. 2001. Do Pesticides Cause Lymphoma? Lymphoma Founda- in the Diets of Infants and Children, National Academy Press, Washington, 14 Cox Caroline. 2004 Winter. “Glyphosate.” Journal Of Pesticide Reform. 2 US EPA, Office of the Administrator, Environmental Health Threats to Children, EPA 175-F-96-001, September 1996. See also: http://www.epa.
17 Salam, MT, et al. 2003. “Early Life Environmental Risk Factors for Asthma: Findings from the Children’s Health Study.” Environmental Health Perspec- 3 Bearer CF. 2000. “The special and unique vulnerability of children to environmental hazards.” Neurotoxicology 21: 925-934.
20 Boyle, C. A., et al. 1994. “Prevalence and health impact of developmental Faustman EM, Silbernagel SM, Fenske RA, Burbacher TM, Ponce RA. disabilities in US children.” Pediatrics 93: 399-403.
2000. Mechanisms underlying children’s susceptibility to environmental 22 National Research Council. 2000. Scientific frontiers in developmental toxicants. Environ Health Perspect. 108(suppl 1):13 –21. toxicology and risk assessment. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
5 Pohl, HR., et al. 2000. “Breast-feeding exposure of infants to selected pes- Physicians for Social Responsibility, The National Environmental Trust, ticides,” Toxicol Ind Health. 16 :65 –77; Sturtz, N., et al. 2000. Detection and The Learning Disabilities Association of America. 2000. Polluting of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) residues in neonates breast-fed our future: Chemical pollution in the U.S. that affects child development and by 2,4-D exposed dams. Neurotoxicology 21(1-2): 147-54; Houlihan, J., et learning. (accessed 6/2/05).
al. 2005. Body Burden, The Pollution in Newborns. Environmental Workgin 23 Landrigan, P.J., L Claudio, SB Markowitz, et al. 1999. “Pesticides and in- Group, Washington, D.C. (ac- ner-city children: exposures, risks, and prevention.” Environmental Health Perspectives 107 (Suppl 3): 431-437.
6 Weiss, B., et al. 2004 April. “Pesticides,” Pediatrics 113(4): 1030-1036.
24 Greenlee, A. et al. 2004. “Low-Dose Agrochemicals and Lawn-Care 7 Vasselinovitch, S., et al., “Neoplastic Response of Mouse Tissues During Pesticides Induce Developmental Toxicity in Murine Preimplantation Perinatal Age Periods and Its Significance in Chemical Carcinogensis,” Embryos,” Environ Health Perspect 112(6): 703-709; Cavieres, M., et al. Perinatal Carcinogenesis, National Cancer Institute Monograph 51, 1979.
2002. “Developmental toxicity of a commercial herbicide mixture in mice: 8 Lowengart, R. et al. 1987. “Childhood Leukemia and Parent’s Occupational Effects on embryo implantation and litter size.” Environ Health Perspect and Home Exposures,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 79:39.
9 Leiss, J., et al. 1995. “Home Pesticide Use and Childhood Cancer: A Case- Porter, Warren. 2004 Spring. “Do Pesticides Affect Learning and Behavior? Control Study,” American Journal of Public Health 85:249-252; Gold, E. et The neuro-endocrine-immune connection,” Pesticides And You, Beyond al. 1979. “Risk Factors for Brain Tumors in Children,” Am J of Epidemiology Pesticides. 21(4): 11-15; Shettler, T., et al. 2000. “Known and suspected 109(3): 309-319; Lowengart, P., et al. 1995. “Childhood Leukemia and developmental neurotoxicants,” In Harms Way: Toxic Threats to Child De- Parents’ Occupational and Home Exposures,” J National Cancer Institute velopment, Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility: Cambridge, 79(1): 39-45; Reeves, J. 1982. “Household Insecticide-Associated Blood MA; Mitchell, J. et al. 1989. “The Behavioral Effects of Pesticides in Male Dyscrasias in Children,” (letter) Am J of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Mice,” Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 11: 45-50.
4:438-439; Davis, J., et al. 1993. “Family Pesticide Use and Childhood 26 Cox C. 2004. Journal Of Pesticide Reform. Vol. 24 (4) citing: Garry, V.F. et Brain Cancer,” Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology al. 2002. “Birth defects, season of conception, and sex of children born to 24:87-92; Buckley, J., et al. 1994. “Epidemiological characteristics of pesticide applicators living in the Red River Valley of Minnesota.” Environ. Childhood Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia,” Leukemia 8(5):856-864.
Health Persp. 110 (Suppl. 3):441-449.
10 Repetto, R., et al. 1996 March. Pesticides and Immune System: The Public 27 Garry, V., et al. 1996. “Pesticide appliers, biocides, and birth defects in Health Risk, World Resources Institute, Washington, DC.
rural Minnesota.” Environmental Health Perspectives 104(4):394-399.
11 Hoar, S., et al. 1986. “Agricultural Herbicide Use and a Risk of Lymphoma 28 EPA. 2004 June. 2,4-D. HED’s Human Health Risk Assessment for the and Soft-Tissue Sarcoma, ”Journal of the American Medical Association, Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED). P. 7.
259(9): 1141-1147; Wigle, D., et al. 1990. “Mortality Study of Canadian 29 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2003 Jan. Second National Farm Operators: Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Mortality and Agricultural Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals.
Practices in Saskatchewan,” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 30 Valcke, Mathieu, et al. 2004. “Characterization of exposure to pesticides 82(7):575-582; Woods, J. 1989. “Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Among used in average residential homes with children ages 3 to 7 in Quebec.” Phenoxy Herbicide-Exposed Farm Workers in Western Washington State,” National Institute of Public Health, Québec. Chemosphere 18(1-6):401-406; Zahm, S., et al. 1990. “A Case Control Study tions/319-CaracterisationPesticidesEnfants.pdf (accessed 6/2/05).
of Non-Hodkin’s Lymphoma on the Herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic 31 Nishioka, M., et al. 1996. Environmental Science Technology, 30:3313-3320;
acid (2,4-D) in Eastern Nebraska” Epidemiology 1(5):349-356. Nishioka, M., et al. 2001. Environmental Health Perspectives, 109(11).
12 Hardell, L., et al. 1999 Mar. “A Case-Control Study of Non-Hodgkin 32 Rudel, Ruthann, et al. 2003. “Phthalates, Alkylphenols, Pesticides, Poly- Lymphoma and Exposure to Pesticides,” J of the Am Cancer Soc, (85):6. brominated Diphenyl Ethers, and Other Endocrine-Disrupting Compounds in Indoor Air and Dust.” Environmental Science and Technology 37(20): 4543-4553.
Beyond Pesticides/National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides


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