Health effects:

How toxic are these pesticides?

Ways toxins affect the body:

Neurotoxicity In the United States, most episodes of acute occupational poisoning are due to organophosphate and carbamate insecticide exposure.

Cancers: The cumulative effects of widespread chronic low-level exposure to pesticides only partially is understood. However, mounting evidence suggests a strong correlation between pesticide exposure and the development of cancer in humans

."Of the 80,000 pesticides and other chemicals in use today, 10 percent are recognized as carcinogens. Cancer-related deaths in the United States increased from 331,000 in 1970 to 521,000 in 1992, with as estimated 30,000 deaths attributed to chemical exposure.

A recent study of pesticides and childhood brain cancers has revealed a strong relationship between brain cancers and compounds used to kill fleas and ticks. The specific chemicals associated with children's brain cancers were pyrethrins and pyrethroids (which are synthetic pyrethrins, such as permethrin, tetramethrin, allethrin, resmethrin, and envalerate), and chlorpyrifos (trade name: Dursban).


Exposure to pesticides, whether in laboratory experiments, animal studies, or epidemiologic studies in humans, clearly shows a significant effect on the immune system, such as T- and B-cell function, macrophage phagoeytosis, and host resistance (Arch Environ Health. 1993;48:81,88 and 1991;46:249-253). Pesticide use "could be a hidden killer"-especially in developing countries, where infections are a leading cause of death. ref. Robert Repetto, vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based World Resources Institute (WRI)

RACHEL'S ENVIRONMENT & HEALTH WEEKLY #648 .April 29, 1999--- .

Special risks to children's health:

Worries over pesticides and their special risks to children are well-founded. Experimental tests in lab animals have found the young to be more vulnerable than adults to the toxic effects of many chemicals simply because their bodies still are developing.

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