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Pediatrics. 2004 Apr;113(4 Suppl):1030-6.


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Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


Pesticides are a broad group of heterogeneous chemicals that have a significant public health benefit by increasing food production productivity and decreasing food-borne and vector-borne diseases. However, depending on the agent and the exposure, they may pose health risks. Because of their behavior, acute accidental toxic exposures occur more commonly in children. Because of the dietary habits and greater intake of foods per kilogram in children and because some infants are breastfed, there is also concern about the effects on them of low-level environmental exposures. In the absence of direct conclusive evidence, consistent and relevant observations have led some investigators to infer that chronic low-dose exposure to certain pesticides might pose a potential hazard to the health and development of infants and children. Other investigators have concluded that such inferences can be neither supported nor refuted at the present time. The pediatrician has a role to play in recognizing the symptoms of acute exposure and to be able to provide appropriate treatment. It is essential to study whether there are subtle neurologic effects that may result from low-level pesticide exposures in individual patients.

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