NPMA Statement: Pesticide Exposure in Children


Fear is a pretty crazy emotion; it causes us to shake and get nauseous but we can’t look away from what scares us. Fear causes us to make bad decisions; sometimes with disastrous results. News reporters always pick the scariest line in a press release and use that as their headline; just as I have here. I hope you will read on and educate yourself on the subject of pesticides and child development.

Before we were born, our parents and grandparents had been exposed to chemicals that are banned from use today. Where did those chemicals come from? Where did they go? The chemicals were developed in laboratories to either save us or harm others, and those chemicals were tested on animals. The chemical compounds were actually derived from plants or designed to mimic them.  Those chemicals went back into the ground from which their “parent chemicals” were derived, shifting nature’s balance. In some areas these chemicals entered ground water and are still showing up today, even in organically grown foods, if the water source or ground was previously tainted.

Certain naturally occurring chemicals are both healing and toxic, depending on the dose. Take aspirin for instance; a low dose controls heart disease, but taking the whole bottle will induce a bad reaction requiring medical attention. People who use a lot of aspirin every day get “rebound headaches” because the toxicity level is too high. They often take more aspirin in an attempt to cure the headache and are surprised when they are told they have developed a disease requiring treatment.

Anything that is misused or mishandled can have a negative effect on children and adults. Recent chemical connections between bottled water and breast cancer have been proven; that chemical has been used in “shatterproof” shampoo bottles for decades, much longer than water has come in plastic bottles. I was told that “shampoo causes cancer” when I was a kid! I do not drink bottled water or anything in a plastic container. Now I learn that the same chemical was used for many years as an interior coating for canned goods. Wow, it’s a good thing I don’t eat my vegetables. The same chemical was used in plastic juice jugs and baby bottles for nearly a generation. We now strive to be BPA free; but how much has accumulated and where did it go? Back into the ground where it will remain for decades, tainting our ground water and food supplies.

With all of that in mind: the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a statement entitled Pesticide Exposure in Children  which, in abstract, correlates problems with exposure but fails to state the chemicals in question except in the detailed documentation. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has published their own statement in response. Integrated Pest Management is recommended in homes, public and commercial facilities that are open to children. Pest Management Professionals have been using an integrated approach for many years. The abstract states that there isn’t enough regulation; well that is true in the public marketplace but not in the privately owned pest management companies.

When people can go to the store and buy chemicals and use them indiscriminately, there are going to be problems. Add to this the fact that for many years the usage directions were only in English and canned pesticide commercials showed pests as disease carriers. It’s no wonder that some of the chemicals in question were over used. Consumers purchased those products out of fear and because the cost of professional pest control was prohibitive. The prior messages that pesticide use was unsafe and the word “insecticide” on most home remedies helped this along. The terms “Pesticide” and “Insecticide” are often used interchangeably; the dangerous pesticides were often used in agricultural settings not in homes, but who knew the difference? Most consumers thought that the insecticide in the can was safer than the chemicals used by professionals, even though that is not the case.

Termite treatments in Gilbert are geared towards an integrated approach. All pest management professionals provide choices based on the household and every job is different. Utilizing integrated pest management techniques makes pest control effective and low risk, a much lower risk than is posed by the threat of structural damage or disease.