As the medical field has grown, so has the desire to determine the sources of illnesses that plague society. What has become a main focus for many researchers is the increasing rates of diseases and ailments that are affecting young children.
According to eNews Park Forest, a Yale University study may have found one active source that is harmful to children’s health, even before their birth. Prenatal exposure to the widely-used agricultural pesticide chlorpyrifos (CPF), also referred to as Dursban, has been linked to involuntary contractions and twitching called tremors during childhood.
The study involved the gathering of 263 mothers in 1997 before the ban of of Dursban use inside homes. After performing an initial blood test of the umbilical cord, the children were followed until they reached 11 years of age; after which they underwent neurophysical assessments through exercises such as short drawing tests.
They found that children exposed to high levels of Dursban in the prenatal stage were significantly more likely to experience mild to moderate tremors localized to one or both of their arms. Even low levels of exposure were linked to changes in brain function and learning into adulthood.
“This is perhaps one of the only examples in which we can show that in utero exposure to these pesticides leads to long-term health care consequences in the children,” remarked Yale senior author and School of Medicine neurology professor Elan Louis, MD. “We’re talking about the possibility that fetuses exposed to pesticides through their mother, while they’re in utero, could have tremors eight or ten years later.”
Even though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry leaders agreed to ban the use of Dursban in homes and gardens, it is still being used for mosquito spraying, on golf courses, and even for agriculture, leaving it on the produce people eat. Because of this, the EPA has deemed it necessary to find organic management methods of pest control.
“It’s true that we have to pay attention to the products that our families and pets are exposed to,” says Eric Ritchey, President, All Natural Pest Elimination. “That’s why we created “Natureline” products. By using botanical oils and mineral substances, we can confidently treat homes knowing that we use much safer yet still effective products. Natureline has been used in thousands of homes over the past 20 years to safely address insect issues.”
While it’s become clear that the use of pesticides can be dangerous in prenatal stages, studies have also found that these substances can have adverse affects on young children as well.
Public Radio International reported on a meta-analysis conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health that found exposure to insecticides early in life can increase children’s risk of developing childhood cancer. There were weak links to brain tumors, but the risks were significantly strong for leukemia and lymphoma.
“We find that for household members that report use of pesticides indoors, specifically insecticides, there is a more than 40% increased risk of childhood leukemia or childhood lymphoma,” said Chensheng (Alex) Lu of the Harvard School of Public Health.
Researchers looked at the results of 16 different international studies and compared the levels of pesticide exposure in groups of kids with and without cancer. The correlation was far too strong to ignore.
Along with the EPA, the Harvard School of Public Health recommends that people find more natural pest control for spiders, termites, and any other creatures that might infest their homes.