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  • Jahnets
    By LINDSEY TANNER The Associated Press CHICAGO Jul 26, 2005 - Pesticide use in or near U.S. schools sickened
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 27 7:28 PM
      The Associated Press
      CHICAGO Jul 26, 2005 - Pesticide use in or near U.S. schools sickened more
      than 2,500 children and school employees over a five-year period, and though
      most illnesses were mild, their numbers have increased, a nationwide report
      Sources include chemicals to kill insects and weeds on school grounds,
      disinfectants, and farming pesticides that drift over nearby schools,
      according to the report by researchers at the National Institute for
      Occupational Safety and Health and their colleagues.
      Lead author Dr. Walter Alarcon said one of the largest recent incidents
      occurred in May when about 600 students and staff members were evacuated
      from an Edinburg, Texas, elementary school after pesticides sprayed on a
      cotton field drifted into the school's air conditioning system. About 30
      students and nine staffers developed mild symptoms including nausea and
      e study, which appears in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical
      Association, covered events from 1998 to 2002 none as big as the Texas
      incident, Alarcon said.
      Activists seeking to reduce pesticide use contend many commonly used
      pesticides, including some involved in the study incidents, can increase
      risks for cancer, birth defects and nerve damage.
      "The chronic long-term impacts of pesticide exposures have not been
      comprehensively evaluated; therefore, the potential for chronic health
      effects from pesticide exposures at schools should not be dismissed," the
      authors wrote.
      Still, the overall rate of pesticide illnesses in schools is small 7.4 cases
      per million children and 27.3 cases per million school employees, the
      authors said.
      Jay Vroom, president of CropLife America, which represents suppliers of
      farming pesticides, said the report is alarmist and that pesticide use
      around schools "is well-regulated and can be managed to a level that does
      not present an unreasonable health risk."
      Allen James, president of RISE, a trade group for makers of pesticides used
      in schools, faulted the study for relying on unverified reports and said the
      numbers nonetheless suggest that incidents are "extremely rare."

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