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Pesticides in Schools

Why Are 80% of U.S. Schools Still Using Toxic Pesticides?

More than 80 percent of schools in America use toxic pesticides as a preventative measure, whether it's needed or not.

Mark Lame, an entomologist and professor at Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs, believes this is an entirely unnecessary practice that carries more risks than benefits to students and faculty.

The most widely used pesticides are, in fact, nerve poisons. They cause uncontrolled nerve firing, and disrupt the delicate hormone systems.

The link between pesticide exposure and health problems in children is already well established. Research has connected these endocrine-disrupting pesticides to health problems such as ADHD, autism, and infertility -- all of which are on the rise.

Professor Lame says pest problems are better managed through an integrated approach -- by preventing the conditions that attract pests into school facilities in the first place.

Lame serves as a consultant for schools around the country, helping them reduce the toxic load by implementing his Integrated Pest Management (IPM) process.

Science Daily July 21, 2007

Dr. Mercola's comments:

Even though schools believe they are doing the right thing by eliminating bugs and pests from the premises, they are actually putting children at serious risk for long-term damage.

The United states uses about 888 million pounds of pesticides and herbicides each year. That's the equivalent of three pounds of toxins for every man, woman and child, and the current pesticide load on your body is surely taking its toll.

Among the many problems they cause include:

o Heart congestion       
o Lung and kidney damage       
o Low blood pressure       
o Muscle damage       
o Weight loss       
o Damage to adrenal glands       
o Brain damage, like Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's is not a pretty picture.  You may know someone with it. If you do, there is a high likelihood that exposure to pesticides played a role in this devastating disease. Unfortunately, it typically takes many years for this to happen, and by the time the damage is done there is very little you can do. So the smart thing is to avoid them to begin with.

Neurological Damage in Children is a Growing Problem

What is, perhaps, even more disturbing is the neurological damage that is imposed on children.

Pesticides are especially dangerous to children because they are still developing, and may not be able to fully remove pesticides from their body. There are also periods during development when exposure to pesticides, or any toxin, can cause permanent damage to their system.

While some of the damage of these toxins may be apparent immediately, other harm may not appear until years later.

Researchers are increasingly pointing to pesticide and herbicide contamination as one cause for the many reported cases of autism, as well as attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Additionally, other researchers are finding links between pesticide exposure and decreased cognitive abilities, and aggression in children. Your nervous system, your immune system, and your endocrine (hormone) system are all closely related and in constant communication with each other, so when any one of the three systems is damaged or degraded, the other two may be adversely affected as well.

Pesticides and herbicides can adversely affect your child's thyroid hormones, too. This is important, as irritability and aggressive behavior are linked to your thyroid hormone levels. Furthermore, some studies have shown that attention deficit and/or hyperactivity disorders in children are linked to changes in their levels of thyroid hormone.

Basic Precautions to Protect Your Family From Pesticides

 * Get rid of any pesticides or herbicides in your home, including any insecticides or lawn and garden products. There are safe natural alternatives that can be used in their place.

 * Make sure the food you eat is organically grown and organically fed.

 * Find out if the water you use for showering, bathing, washing dishes, cooking, cleaning, and drinking is free of pesticides, herbicides or other toxins. If it is contaminated, get the right water treatment system to treat your specific problem.

 * Never spray pesticides -- such as DEET-containing insect repellents -- directly on your body. Look for natural repellents instead, or simply wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.

Is there any doubt that pesticides and herbicides -- not to mention fertilizers, plastics and toxic metals -- are affecting American children's mental capacities, emotional balance, and social adjustment? Not in my mind.

Talk to your child's school administration about their use of pesticides. Open up a dialog and raise awareness to the fact that there are other, safer alternatives out there.

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