AAP Makes Recommendations to Reduce Children's Exposure to Pesticides
For Release: November 26, 2012
Children encounter pesticides every day and are uniquely vulnerable to their toxicity. A new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) outlines the harmful effects of pesticides on children and makes recommendations on how to reduce exposure. The policy statement, “Pesticide Exposure in Children,” and an accompanying technical report are published in the December 2012 issue of Pediatrics (released online Nov. 26). Prenatal and early childhood exposure to pesticides is associated with pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function and behavioral problems. According to the AAP, recognizing and reducing children’s exposure to pesticides will require improved medical training, public health tracking, and regulatory approaches. The AAP recommends pediatricians become familiar with the effects of acute and chronic exposures to pesticides; learn what resources are available for both treatment of acute poisoning and addressing lower dose chronic exposures in children; and understand pesticide labeling. Pediatricians should ask parents about pesticide use around the home and yard, offer guidance about safe storage, and recommend parents choose lowest-harm approaches when considering pest control. Pediatricians should also work with schools and government agencies to advocate for the least toxic methods of pest control, and to inform communities when pesticides are being used in the area. The policy statement also makes a number of recommendations for government, including specific recommendations related to marketing, labeling, use and safety of pesticides to minimize children’s exposure.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.
Pesticide Exposure in Children
- COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Here is the Abstract:
This statement presents the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics on pesticides. Pesticides are a collective term for chemicals intended to kill unwanted insects, plants, molds, and rodents. Children encounter pesticides daily and have unique susceptibilities to their potential toxicity. Acute poisoning risks are clear, and understanding of chronic health implications from both acute and chronic exposure are emerging. Epidemiologic evidence demonstrates associations between early life exposure to pesticides and pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems. Related animal toxicology studies provide supportive biological plausibility for these findings. Recognizing and reducing problematic exposures will require attention to current inadequacies in medical training, public health tracking, and regulatory action on pesticides. Ongoing research describing toxicologic vulnerabilities and exposure factors across the life span are needed to inform regulatory needs and appropriate interventions. Policies that promote integrated pest management, comprehensive pesticide labeling, and marketing practices that incorporate child health considerations will enhance safe use.