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Acta Paediatr Suppl. 2006 Oct;95(453):71-80.

Adverse health effects of children's exposure to pesticides: what do we really know and what can be done about it.

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Department of Environmental Epidemiology, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Lodz, Poland.


Children may be exposed to pesticides in several ways, such as by transplacental transfer during foetal life, by intake of contaminated breast milk and other nutrients, or by contact with contaminated subjects and areas in the environment such as pets treated with insecticides, house dust, carpets and chemically treated lawns and gardens. Exposure early in life, and particularly during periods of rapid development, such as during foetal life and infancy, may have severe effects on child health and development by elevating the risk of congenital malformations, cancer, malabsorption, immunological dysfunction, endocrine disease, and neurobehavioural deficiencies. As pesticides can also interfere with parental reproductive health, exposure of parents may have consequences for the offspring leading to reduced chance of male birth and increased risk of childhood cancer.


Current knowledge about tolerable levels and consequences of toxic exposure to pesticides during human development is rather scarce. Owing to the high risk of exposure to pesticides, particularly in less developed countries, further elucidation by well-controlled epidemiological studies in this field it is urgently needed. The Policy Interpretation Network on Children's Health and Environment (PINCHE), which is financed by the EU DG research has suggested actions against pesticide exposure. They have been presented and discussed in this paper. Several suggestions of PINCHE concerning action needed regarding pesticides were presented in the paper.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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