Daily News Archive
Early Child Development Harmed By Common Products Including Pesticides
(Beyond Pesticides, July 12, 2004) A new report released in June by Environment California Research & Policy Center, "Growing Up Toxic: Chemical Exposures and Increases in Developmental Disease" pulls together the latest science and offers recommendations to prevent the potential harm to children posed by pesticides and chemicals found in common household products.
The report links together compelling scientific studies that together paint a vivid picture of some of the most pressing health concerns our country faces today. The report focuses on four categories of common household products that contain chemicals that either have not been tested for safety, or have been linked to adverse health effects that may be harming children. The categories include phthalates, flame retardants, polycarbonate plastic, and pesticides.
Phthalates are used in shampoos, perfumes, beauty products, food containers, plastic wrap, and children’s toys, and are linked to premature births and male reproductive problems. Flame retardants, used in foams, plastics, and electronics, are linked to impaired learning and behavior disorders. Hard polycarbonate containing bisphenol-A, one of the top 50 production-volume chemicals in the U.S., is used for baby bottles, drinking water bottles, and food containers, and is known to potentially act as a synthetic substitute for the female hormone estrogen.
The report collected a number of studies on the consequences of pesticide exposure as depicted in the following excerpts:
"Open the doors
to the average home where children live, and you are apt to find the
usual trappings of childhood—toys strewn about on the floor, cupboards
secured with safety locks, baby gates at the top of the stairs,"
said Yana Kucher, co-author of the report. "Yet while parents endeavor
to stimulate their children’s development and protect them from
hazards, the very and products their children are surrounded by are
likely exposing them to chemicals that could harm their development."
"For years, chemicals manufacturers have insisted that ‘the dose makes the poison,’ and that human exposures to chemicals in products were too minute to cause harm," said Kucher. "However, recent science shows us that chemicals’ effects on humans may be much more complicated.”
In June 2004, Assembly member Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) introduced legislation that will ban hazardous phthalates from cosmetics and personal care products (AB 2012). The legislation will also help consumers make informed choices about products they purchase, by requiring that manufacturers fully disclose the chemical ingredients in products. "Preventing birth defects is far more important than producing nail polish that doesn't chip," said Assembly Member Chu.
The report authors advocate several policy changes to help protect the public:
TAKE ACTION: Support the above recommendations and contact your local Assembly members and suggest they introduce similar legislation as Assembly member Judy Chu. Work with Beyond Pesticides to pose opposition to EPA’s continued registration of the worst chemicals, to begin requiring data from manufacturers on endocrine disruptors, and demand that inerts be listed on all product labels. See Beyond Pesticides Alerts pages and Watchdogging the Government for regular updates.