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Last Updated: February 27, 2019


Pests: Pesticides

Image: Property of UNC CEHS COEC

Big Idea: Pesticides also have serious health effects. Americans use 1 billion pounds of pesticides each year. –US EPA

Talking Points:

Pesticide exposure of young children (including prenatal exposure) has negative impacts on mental development and neurological developmental milestones.

  • Increased cancer incidence: Increases in prostate cancer for farmers, nursery workers, and commercial pest applicators in Iowa and North Carolina; commercial pest applicators in NC also increased lip cancer and multiple myeloma
  • Pesticides can get into drinking water: Atrazine (the second most common pesticide used in the US; atrazine tricks the body into making more of its own estrogen; has feminizing effects on tadpoles exposed at key moments of development which turn males until fully functional egg-laying females)
  • Pesticides leave a legacy: American Healthy Homes survey found that most kitchen floors have some insecticide residue, including traces of insecticides that were withdrawn from the market or banned in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • Pesticide poisoning: In 2009, National Poison Data System (NPDS), logged 92,240 human exposures to pesticides; 41,882 involved children 5 and under
  • Illness and Injury related to Total Release Foggers – NYC has 4-8 explosions/year

Liu and Schelar, 2012, Pesticide Exposure and Child Neurodevelopment
Koutros et al., 2010, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
EPA, 2015, Drinking Water Contaminants
Stout,, 2009, Environmental Science and Technology, A National Study of Residential Pesticides Measured from Floor Wipes
Bronstein et al., 2010, Clinical Toxicology, 2009 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS): 27th Annual Report
Coby Schal, NCSU, Pest Expert

Categories: Pest/Pesticides