According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), close to 1 billion pounds of conventional pesticides are used each year in the US. Unfortunately, many make their way into our food and water systems. And that’s bad news for our most vulnerable populations: pregnant women, infants and children.
Try to give the little ones a chemical-free environment when you can.
Photo Credit: Jenny Hooks
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, children receive 50 percent of their lifetime cancer risks by the time they’re 2 years old. Both the EPA and the National Academy of Sciences report that “standard chemicals are up to ten times more toxic to children than to adults, depending on body weight.” That’s because children take in more toxic chemicals relative to body weight than adults. Plus, their rapidly dividing cells and developing organ systems make them more vulnerable to chemicals – and less able to detoxify them.
The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that children’s exposure to pesticides comes primarily from food. And according to a 2003 study, blood samples taken from children between 2 and 4 years old revealed that pesticide residues were six times higher in children who eat conventionally farmed fruits and vegetables compared with those who eat organic food.
In addition to pesticide residues on food, children’s natural lifestyle habits may also put them in closer contact with lawn and garden chemicals. For example, kids typically roll, tumble and play in the grass, and they put fingers, toys and dirt into their mouths without washing first. Children’s breathing zones are closer to the ground, as well.
So one easy way to decrease harmful chemical exposure and decrease potential risk to our most vulnerable and precious family members is to simply grow more of our food organically, in our very own back yards. Buying produce from local organic farmers also gives us assurance that we’re cutting down on our children’s pesticide and herbicide exposure. It’s as simple as that.
So let’s first do no harm.