|Dr. Devon Payne-Sturges|
This unique paper is the “first step toward assessing the importance of multiple exposures of organophosphates (OP) pesticide exposure for children.” Organophosphate chemicals are the most widely used insecticides available today. They are used in agriculture, to kill pests in people’s homes, and by veterinarians. Organophosphate pesticides affect acetylcholinesterase, which is essential to nerve function in insects, humans, and many other animals, and this could present a major problem for children’s health.
From 1999-2002, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) collected data on a variety of chemicals, including organophosphates, to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. By using this information, Devon determined that about 40% of children in the U.S., aged 6 -11, had cumulative exposures to OP pesticides at levels of concern for health impacts. In other words, the combined exposures of organophosphate insecticides that young children receive are enough to put them at risk. (EPA, photo courtesy EPA)
Payne-Sturges. D et al. Evaluating Cumulative Organophoshorous Pesticide Body Burden of Children: A National Case Study. Environmental Science and Technology, 2009, 43(20), 7924-30