The Invisible Danger of Pesticides

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently issued a statement and technical report offering policy suggestions to protect children from the dangers of pesticides. The issuance of the statement is a reminder of the dangers that pesticides pose to everyone, especially kids.

Pesticides, particularly in Florida, are in use around us every day. Insecticides are sprayed to prevent insects from infesting and destroying crops such as grains, fruits and vegetables, as well as to prevent home infestation. Herbicides are being poured to kill weeds. Rodenticides are spread to kill mice, rats, squirrels and other unwelcome guests in our homes. Insect repellents, foggers, rodent and ant baits, and weed killers are all common household pesticides we use without thinking twice about the potential consequences to our families and ourselves.

While most pesticides in use today are designed to not harm humans, they still can have unintended effects. Improper or excessive exposure to pesticides can lead to illness and even death in humans. Children, the elderly and the infirm are especially vulnerable. Acute symptoms of pesticide poisoning can include the following:

  • Problems with breathing, digestion, balance and neurological function
  • Rashes, hives or blisters
  • Blurred vision or burns on the eyes

The AAP’s report notes that while acute pesticide poisoning is uncommon, significant dangers remain due to poisoning that can occur due to a long period of regular exposure.

Children can take in pesticides in a variety of ways. They might eat food that has pesticide residue, or breathe in or touch pesticides that have been applied outdoors. The long-term effects of this kind of pesticide exposure can include brain tumors, leukemia and neurological problems.

The AAP’s statement makes a number of suggestions for governments to protect children better from the dangers of pesticides. On an individual level, it is crucial for parents to use pesticides safely and to keep them away from children. Parents should also educate children as to the dangers of pesticides and other hazardous chemicals.

If you believe pesticides have poisoned a loved one, seek immediate medical attention. Contact us for further assistance in determining your rights.

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