6 reasons children are more vulnerable to pesticides
Maybe kids don't like veggies because they know they could be laced with chemicals.
Saturday, November 13, 2010 - 18:35
BON APPETIT: Stir fry with pesticides, anyone? (Photo: Glenn Fay)
Many of us have realized that most of our food supply is laced with pesticides, from direct use by factory farms, contamination from water or wind or proximity to contaminated areas. Even though most of these chemicals are imperceptible to us, they are present all around us. There is evidence that we should especially pay attention the exposure of children to pesticides used on crops and lawns.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which regulates pesticides in the U.S. food supply, says that infants and children are more susceptible to pesticides in food than adults. This is due to several factors, including:
1. Children's internal organs and bodies are still developing and maturing, and faster-growing tissues absorb more than slower-growing tissues.
2. When you factor in body weight, infants and children eat and drink more than adults, possibly increasing their exposure to pesticides in food and water. Because their systems are smaller, they are ingesting more bad stuff, pound for pound.
3. There are lots of things that kids tend to do, such as playing on floors, lawns or putting objects in their mouths, that increase their exposure to pesticides used in homes and yards. We may not think about the lawn chemicals used in the garden but these can be a problem for children.
4. Some pesticides may harm a child by blocking the absorption of important food nutrients necessary for normal body growth. This could lead to stunted organ development and growth.
5. Since children's excretory systems are not fully developed, the body may not fully remove pesticides, and they can linger in the body and accumulate. Organic pesticides, which are fat-soluble, can be stored in body fat and become concentrated over time.
6. Finally, there are "critical periods" in human development when exposure to a toxin can permanently alter the operation of organs or the child's system. This can have lasting effects on the function of organs and systems in the body.
In the Food Quality Protection Act (1996), the EPA carefully evaluates children's exposure to pesticide residues in and on foods they most commonly eat, including apples and apple juice, orange juice, potatoes, tomatoes, soybean oil, sugar, eggs, pork, chicken and beef. THe EPA also evaluates new and existing pesticides to ensure that they can be used with a reasonable certainty that they will not harm adults, infants or children. Of course, with epidemic cancer rates in general, and cancer appearing more frequently in children and young adults, I have to wonder if the EPA is evaluating all the pesticides it should, and whether the acceptable limits are safe for kids and other humans.
Wouldn't it be nice if our food supply was free or at least more free of pesticides and chemical residues? How is it possible to find safe food without paying a lot for organic food? This short video below suggests that eating a variety of foods, and washing, trimming and cooking foods can help reduce pesticide exposure.
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