The rise in quantities of pesticides used over the past 50 years is indeed alarming. Infants and young children are among the most sensitive to pesticide exposures because of their early stages of development; their body organs and as well as their immune, reproductive and nervous systems are still maturing. Compared to adults, they consume higher amounts of food and water per unit of body weight, leading to greater and accumulated exposures. Absorption rates for chemicals and toxic elements are higher than in adults and excretion rates are lower due to immaturity of renal function.
In these vulnerable groups it is thus vitally important to address the harmful effects of both prenatal and postnatal exposures to pesticides. However, it is also necessary to assess the impact of preconception exposure to pesticides of future fathers as well as future mothers. This is a gap and weakness in both research and regulation.
- Read the IBFAN submission on the human rights implications of the widespread use of hazardous pesticides