OUR BODIES - Lawn
pesticides linked to serious health problems
CDC study shows that
most people in the U.S., including children, carry
multiple pesticides in their bodies
(July 21, 2005)--Scientists at Pesticide Action
Network North America analyzed pesticide data in a
study released today by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), finding that more than
90% of those tested carried a mixture of pesticides
in their bodies. Many of these chemicals have been
linked to health effects such as cancer, birth
defects and neurological problems.
highlights the tip of a toxic iceberg,” said
Margaret Reeves, Ph.D., a senior scientist at
Pesticide Action Network. “CDC evaluated only a
fraction of the total number of pesticides used
every day in agricultural fields, homes and gardens
and found many of these toxic chemicals present in
This is CDC’s third
national report sampling the blood and urine of
thousands of subjects across the country for dozens
of toxic chemicals. In this third study, 148
environmental chemicals were measured, 43 of them
pesticides. There are currently over 1200 pesticides
formulated into tens of thousands of products
registered for use in the U.S.
Some pesticides were
found at higher levels in children, known to be
particularly vulnerable to harm from pesticide
exposure. For example, the organophosphate pesticide
chlorpyrifos was found at higher concentrations in
children than adults, indicating exposures more than
four times the level EPA considers “safe.” Home use
of chlorpyrifos was banned in 2001 because of
concern over health effects in children, but an
estimated 10 million pounds continues to be used in
agricultural fields every year.
“Kids across the
country carry a mixture of dangerous chemicals in
their bodies every day,” said Kristin Schafer,
program coordinator at Pesticide Action Network.
“While the chemical industry will say this is the
cost of doing business, we say risking our kids’
health is not acceptable, and it's high time to
shift to nontoxic ways of controlling pests.”
CDC found several
organochlorine pesticides in the blood of study
subjects. Organochlorines are persistent pesticides
that can last in the environment—and the human
body—for many years, and can be passed from mother
to child in the womb and through breast milk.
Most of these
pesticides, such as DDT, chlordane and dieldrin,
have been banned for decades. The organochlorine
insecticide lindane, however, continues to be used
in the U.S. though it has been banned in more than
50 other countries around the world. Bayer
CropScience is the primary distributor of lindane
agricultural products in the U.S.
PANNA issued a set of
recommendations based on findings from the report.
like Bayer CropScience that distribute
organochlorine pesticide products should
withdraw them immediately from the U.S. market.
should use CDC’s biomonitoring data to help
develop policies that better protect public
health, and particularly our children.
- CDC should make
more detailed data publicly available to help
policymakers set priorities and evaluate the
impacts of policies put in place.
- Consumers should
choose organic food and pesticide-free household
and hygiene products to protect their families
and support the adoption of healthy
or their breakdown products found in more than 50%
of study subjects[parent pesticide]:
- TCP [chlorpyrifos]
[several organophosphate pesticides]
pentachlorophenol and hexachlorocyclohexane
(technical grade lindane)]
[ethyl and methyl parathion]
- p,p'-DDE [DDT]
information about pesticides in people’s bodies
including fact sheets and PANNA’s Ban Lindane Now!
RELEASE DATE: June
21, 2005 / Kelly Campbell at 415-981-6205 x350