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PLoS Biol. 2017 Dec 21;15(12):e2004741. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2004741. eCollection 2017 Dec.

Will buffer zones around schools in agricultural areas be adequate to protect children from the potential adverse effects of pesticide exposure?

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Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health (CERCH), School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California, United States of America.


California has proposed limiting agricultural pesticide use within 0.4 km of schools and childcare facilities. However, the 0.4-km buffer may not be appropriate for all pesticides because of differing toxicities, fate, and application methods. Living near pesticide use has been associated with poorer birth outcomes, neurodevelopment, and respiratory function in children. More research about exposures in schools, childcare facilities, and homes is needed. Despite incomplete science, this regulation is an important step to reduce potential exposures to children. The most vulnerable exposure period may be in utero, and future regulations should also aim to reduce exposures to pregnant women.

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