Dirt Doctor Organic News # 19 PESTICIDES = POISONS
In 2004 an estimated 72,000 children were involved in common household pesticide-related poisonings or exposures in the United States. Here is the phone number to call for a poison emergency for every state.
Most parents do not know or realize their children are at a greater risk from pesticide poisoning than adults. When poison tolerances are tested, the susceptibilities of children are not thought to be important by testers for some reason. Neither are the combinations of chemicals and other poisons.
A survey by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding pesticides used in and around the home revealed some significant findings:
- Children are more likely to play on treated floors and grounds. Unwashed hands often find their way to the mouth or to unwrapped snacks.
Because many pesticides (poisons) are heavier than air, childrenís breathing areas are likely to have higher pesticide concentrations.
Children usually do not read, understand or pay attention to warning signs.
A childís biology is different. Their immune system is less developed and may be less protected.
Children are extremely vulnerable to classes of synthetic pesticides (poisons) that mimic naturally occurring hormones or enzymes.
Developing cells are more easily damaged than cells that have completed development. During the rapid growth period of childhood, cells divide very quickly, making it more likely that a cellular mutation will be reproduced, thus initiating cancer.
Because they are younger, children have a longer life span ahead of them for chemically induced health problems to progress.
Small doses of neurotoxins can drastically impair the learning process in children.
- Almost half of all households with children under the age of five have at least one pesticide stored in an unlocked cabinet, less than four feet off the ground within the reach of children.
- Approximately 75% of households without children under the age of five have stored pesticides in unlocked cabinets, less than 4 feet off the ground within the reach of children. This number is especially significant because 13% of all pesticide poisoning incidents occur in homes other than the child's home.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PREVENTING ACCIDENTAL POISONING:
- Donít use toxic chemical pesticides.
- Always store chemicals (even organic ones) away from children's reach, in a locked cabinet or garden shed. Child-proof safety latches may also be installed on cabinets and can be purchased at your local hardware store.
- Read the label first and follow the directions to the letter, including all precautions and restrictions.
- Some would say before applying pesticides (indoors and outdoors) that children and their toys as well as pets should be removed from the area and kept away until the pesticides have dried or as recommended on the label. I say Ė donít use toxic chemical pesticides at all.
- If your use of a pesticide is interrupted (perhaps by a phone call), properly re-close the package and be sure to leave the container out of the reach of children while you are gone.
- Never transfer pesticides to other containers that children may associate with food or drink.
- Never place rodent or insect baits where small children can get to them.
- Use child-resistant packaging properly by closing the container tightly after use.
- Alert others to the potential hazard of pesticides, especially care givers and grandparents.
- Teach children that "pesticides are poisons" - something they should not touch. Better still, donít use them.
- Keep the telephone number of the Poison Control Center near your telephone.
IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY, try to determine what the child was exposed to and what part of the body was affected before you take action, since taking the right action is as important as taking immediate action.
- If the child is unconscious, having trouble breathing or having convulsions, give needed first aid immediately. Call 911 or your local emergency service.
- If the child is awake, conscious, not having trouble breathing, and not having convulsions, contact the Poison Center Network at 800-222-1222 or 911.
Remember to act fast because speed is crucial!
Appropriate first aid treatment depends on the kind of poisoning that has occurred.
Learn to Recognize the Symptoms of Pesticide (Poison) Exposure
(Are you, or have you been a victim?)
Soreness of Joints
Tightness in Chest
Flu Like Symptoms
Elevated Blood Pressure
Immune Deficiency Disorders
Central Nervous System Disorders
Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS)
Irritations to Skin, Eyes, Nose and Throat
Muscle Twitches, Loss of Coordination
Changes in Heart Rate and Liver function
Behavioral Abnormalities, Hyperactivity, Moodiness
Many physicians do not recognize these symptoms as being pesticide related!
The main reason I recommend the organic lifestyle is that it is better in every way. And the non-toxic aspect is one of its great benefits.
The Dirt Doctor
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