Remember we are eatting this too...
By LINDSEY TANNER
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
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
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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