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Children living in homes with pesticide use were twice as likely to get cancer: organic gardening may save your children’s lives

May 14, 2009

The photo to the right shows the commercial pesticide operation procedures.

Preparing for pesticide application.
Image via Wikipedia

I know that everyone I know gets annoyed when I start talking organics.  I talk about the evils of Round-up, which if you have ever been burned by it as I have, you would discuss its evils too.  I argued with our City for spraying Round-Up routinely around our neighborhood to discourage “grass from growing out of the cracks in the sidewalk” in front of our houses.  The City assured me Round-Up was safe as long as it dried.   It rained a half  hour later, and then the residue from our entire neighborhood was washed into our local river….

But, after having been personally burned all over my feet, and let me tell you that a chemical burn doesn’t go away, I had to speak out about common pesticide and herbicide use.  These toxic chemicals are supposed to make the average dumb-ass gardener’s life easier because they kill things.  Oxymoron isn’t it?  Kill things, trying to grow things…  But these chemicals kill things so lazy gardeners don’t have to bend down and actually pull the weeds.  The chemicals can also be sprayed over entire fields to support our industrialized farming methods.

Well, new studies show that using pesticides and herbicides grossly increases a child’s possibility of getting cancer, brain cancers:A new study finds that children who live in homes where their parents use pesticides are twice as likely to develop brain cancer versus those that live in residences in which no pesticides are used. Herbicide use appeared to cause a particularly elevated risk for a certain type of cancer.

We already have numerous studies documenting the cancer-causing effects of these chemicals in animals, but apparently humans still want to play the scientific experiment with their own children first.  Maybe some people don’t believe we are animals and therefore won’t get cancer.  Who knows, because brain cancer is one of the most common cancers children get.

This study highlights a new and compelling reason to avoid or limit pesticide use and take necessary precautions during exposure. It also adds to a growing body of research that finds that pesticide exposure — especially with farm life and pesticide use — might be contributing significantly to this deadly disease.

Brain cancer is the second most common cancer in children, yet why it develops is not clear. Genetics plays a role in some cases, but researchers believe those not due to associated genes are related to environmental factors and exposures.

The rural life may only be a healthy one if you avoid the toxic chemicals many farmers are prone to using, day in and day out.  But lawn products have the ability to affect us too:

The risk of childhood brain cancer was significantly lower for fathers who washed immediately after the pesticide exposure or wore protective clothing versus those who never or only sometimes took precautions.

The parents assessed in this study were generally in contact with the pesticides through residential exposure, including lawn and garden care.

So, what is a parent to do?  For myself, I would advocate using organic products.  There really is no excuse not to when even Wal-Mart carries organic gardening supplies, lawn supplies and even hand soap.  Realize that father’s genes are vulnerable to pesticide exposure, in fact a study I read said that men were more affected by pesticides due to the their estrogenic properties.  Check out a website called Gardens Alive, if you want to get more organic products for your lawn and garden.  But really, there are plenty at every big box store.

For your kids’ sake, don’t use the pesticides and herbicides–it may just save their lives.

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