Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Rural children, pregnant women in N.Y. state often exposed to pesticides 'unsafe at any level of exposure,' study finds

People in rural areas of New York, especially pregnant women and children, are frequently exposed to pesticides in their homes, according to a newly published study from Cornell University in Ithaca.

"Researchers sampled 132 rural homes in Chenango, Columbia, Essex, Franklin, Wyoming and Hamilton counties," Tom Wilber reports for the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. "In all the homes, they found residue of five different 'organophosphate' pesticides — a class of chemicals that another recent study found to be unsafe at any level of exposure. Many of the chemicals are used in especially large quantities on farms. Exposure risks range from reproductive and developmental problems to cancer."

The most common were picloram acid, a herbicide, and malathion, an insecticide; they and the other chemicals can drift through doors or windows from nearby farms or lawns and can also enter a home on feet, clothes or pets. Such chemicals are slower to dissipate once inside because they're protected from the weather that usually breaks them down. The chemicals linger for a particularly long time on carpets, which can disproportionately affect crawling children or children who drop toys or food on the carpet and then put them in their mouths, Wilber reports.

"A recent study by the National Resource Defense Council published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS Medicine found no safe level of exposure to any organophosphate pesticide for pregnant women and their babies," Wilber reports.

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