New evidence from researchers across the country shows that pesticides are harming our children.
As a mother of two teenagers, I know we can take steps at home to reduce our family’s pesticide exposure. The food we eat, how we control bugs in our backyard garden, what we do about that line of ants that shows up every spring — these are important choices that really do make a difference.
Food choices alone can make a tremendous difference – many recent studies show health effects from exposure to very low levels of pesticides, like the levels found on the food we eat every day. And children are especially vulnerable.
Pesticide Action Network has developed a great tool for making healthier choices: the “What’s On My Food?” online database and iPhone app. This easy-to-use site will show you which fruits and vegetables are likely to be covered with what pesticides — and what health harms are linked to those chemicals.
Here are just a few examples of what you’ll find when you take a look at whatsonmyfood.org:
•14 of the 52 pesticide residues found on blueberries are neurotoxicants, which can harm brain development and contribute to falling IQs.
•19 suspected hormone disruptors were found on broccoli samples. These chemicals are linked to cancer, obesity and developmental disorders.
•8 known or probable carcinogens were found in green bean samples.
And choosing pesticide-free fruits and vegetables does more than cut down our family’s exposure. It also supports those farmers who have stepped off the pesticide treadmill, and protects rural and farmworker families – and their children.
But household choices alone cannot solve the problem of pesticides. It’s just too big. We use more than a billion pounds of pesticides a year in this country, and these chemicals are harming our children.
We need to push for policies at the local, state and national level that will bring these numbers down, that will better support schools, cities and farmers that want to reduce the use of pesticides — and we need them urgently.
Put simply, it’s high time we made our children’s health a national priority.
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