Pesticides and children


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Abstract

Prevention and control of damage to health, crops, and property by insects, fungi, and noxious weeds are the major goals of pesticide applications. As with use of any biologically active agent, pesticides have unwanted side-effects. In this review, we will examine the thesis that adverse pesticide effects are more likely to occur in children who are at special developmental and behavioral risk. Children's exposures to pesticides in the rural and urban settings and differences in their exposure patterns are discussed. The relative frequency of pesticide poisoning in children is examined. In this connection, most reported acute pesticide poisonings occur in children younger than age 5. The possible epidemiological relationships between parental pesticide use or exposure and the risk of adverse reproductive outcomes and childhood cancer are discussed. The level of consensus among these studies is examined. Current concerns regarding neurobehavioral toxicity and endocrine disruption in juxtaposition to the relative paucity of toxicant mechanism-based studies of children are explored.

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