Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PAN AP) has launched a new book called “Poisoning Our Future” to mark global no pesticide use week. The book details the scientific evidence for the insidious effects of pesticides on children and calls on government institutions to adopt a more precautionary approach to better protect human health and the environment.
According to the author Dr Meriel Watts, “Children are not little adults. The activities they do make them more prone to accumulate pesticides in their bodies; and their developing bodies make them more prone to the negative effects of toxic chemicals such as pesticides. Yet government regulatory processes and tests do not look into these effects,” according to Dr Meriel Watts, author of the book. Tests used to approve use of pesticides do not look into endocrine disruption which can impact the physical, intellectual and behavioural development of the foetus and young child. The effects can include ADHD and autism and even conditions like obesity and breast cancer that can show up later in life in what is now referred to as the “foetal origins of adult disease”. Some childhood cancers like leukaemia have been linked to the exposure of parents to pesticides. Highly hazardous pesticides also damage the developing immune, nervous and reproductive systems.
Children are born pre-polluted; women’s bodies are contaminated by highly hazardous pesticides. Disabilities among children of parents exposed to pesticides are well-documented: in Kasargod, where communities have been exposed to aerial spraying of endosulfan; in Vietnam, where parents have been exposed to Agent Orange (a deadly mixture of herbicides); or in Bhopal, where a pesticide facility leaked in 1983 that caused thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands more suffering up to this day. No Pesticide Use Week continues to be held as a stark reminder of pesticide horrors during the December 3 eve of the Bhopal tragedy. PAN AP Executive Director Sarojeni Rengam, emphasizing the urgency of the problem, said “the pesticide industry has evaded responsibility and accountability despite the harms caused and continues to generate billions of dollars in profits. This has to stop now if we are to protect our lives, the health of women, that of our children and their mothers, and of future generations.”
To know more about these negative impacts, read the book here