N.C. Pesticide Study Released

July 27, 2006 - 13:43

A recently released study in North Carolina found the metabolite level in children across six counties is higher than the national averages. Researchers tested 60 children between the ages of one and six living with migrant farm workers. They analyzed urine samples, looking for specific metabolites the body produces after being exposed to pesticides. Although researchers found high levels of metabolites, they were unable to conclude if the levels could cause harm.

“This information is helpful, but it’s only a snapshot at a particular time,” Allan Noe, spokesman for CropLife America, told the Associated Press.
Noe also noted that some of the comparison material used in this study dates back to 1999 and may no longer be relevant.

Advocates of the study say it should serve as a reminder to policy makers that greater enforcement of safety laws and educating farm workers are central to protecting workers and their children from chemicals. As more studies are conducted and public knowledge of pesticide exposure increases, the agriculture and floriculture industries will need to be aware of the effect these analyses will have. Pesticide regulations may begin to change, increasing the difficulty of pesticide registration and deterring customers from purchasing certain products.

Pesticides are among the most rigorously tested and regulated chemicals, and government registration processes ensure that their safety is regularly assessed. Pesticide education has been in effect for years, specifically focusing on farmers and farm workers. Recognizing that pesticides are a necessary item in the floriculture industry, many organizations are dedicated to pesticide education in order to create a safe environment for both worker and consumers. Assessment and education programs are in effect at universities across the country. Continued pesticide education will keep growers and customers well informed and prevent unnecessary panic.

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