Esta información está disponible en Español. Haz clic aquí.
The information below is available as a factsheet. Download the PDF.
Children have unique vulnerabilities that can lead to significantly greater amounts of pesticide exposure, and increasingly detrimental effects from these exposures, compared to adults. With more frequent hand-to-mouth behavior, children are much more likely to ingest pesticide residues from areas they come in contact with. Their decreased physical size makes even small amounts of pesticide ingestion detrimental to their health, especially during early developmental stages. 1
And of course, children play! Whether it’s recess, sports practice, a trip to the park, or simply playing outside at home, children come in contact with a lot of turf. The chemicals that are sprayed on that turf matter because scientific evidence shows it has an impact on their health. See the body of evidence below.
Good Neighbor Iowa recognizes there are situations where pesticides may be necessary in certain landscapes to protect child health, such as invasive species control or removing poison ivy. However, given the body of evidence, pesticide usage on common turf for cosmetic purposes is unjustifiable.
“Prenatal, household and occupational exposures (maternal and paternal) appear to be the largest risks. …Children’s exposure to pesticides should be limited as much as possible.”
A comprehensive literature review that concludes, “Studies looking at pesticide use and cancer have shown a positive relationship between exposure to pesticides and the development of some cancers, particularly in children.” This report advises “…decreasing pesticide use for cosmetic (non-commercial) purposes where children might be exposed, and on the job.”
This meta analysis of 15 studies on residential pesticide use and childhood leukemia found an association with exposure during pregnancy. Links between pesticides and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, brain, and kidney cancers also exist.
Many pesticides exhibit neurotoxic effects in children. This 2013 systematic review found a positive correlation between pesticide exposure and negative neurobehavioral outcomes in 26 out of 27 evaluated studies.
National Institute of Health | 2013
This 2018 report outlines urgent pesticide policy reforms describing compelling evidence that very low levels of pre- and neonatal exposure put children at risk of neurodevelopmental harms.
PLOS Medicine | 2018
This research suggests even low levels of pesticide exposure in children has neurodevelopmental effects, including impacts on neonatal reflexes, psychomotor, and mental developments and ADHD. Greater education at all levels and more common use of integrated pest management are just two of the implication strategies called for by the authors.
Workplace Health and Safety | 2012
Pesticides are able to be passed through the placenta and blood-brain barrier to infants while they are in the womb, resulting in pesticide exposure during the most critical stages of child development. Certain types of pesticides are believed to have impacts on the likelihood of autism diagnosis. Pesticides interfere with neurodevelopment through their endocrine-disrupting properties.
Some pesticides have active ingredients that have been classified as endocrine disruptors. Many “other” ingredients- ingredients that remain undisclosed- have also been shown to be endocrine disruptors.
National Library of Medicine | 2009
The pesticide industry is only mandated to share the “active ingredients” in their products. However, undisclosed “mystery” ingredients and compounds in pesticides have been found to be endocrine disruptors as well, if not more so than the active ingredients themselves.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health | 2016
Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children in the U.S. This report calls on the need for increased preventative measures to reduce children’s exposure to pesticides and toxic chemicals. Important risk factors for cancer among children include toxic chemicals in their homes and learning and play environments.
Pesticides oftentimes make their way inside homes. This study discovered indoor residues of 2, 4-D (a common lawn herbicide) were detected in air quality and on all surfaces throughout all study homes.
Environmental Health Perspectives | 2001