Dozens of independent studies show that pesticides do profound damage to children’s health, according to a report released this week (May 10) by the non-profit Pesticide Action Network.
The report, titled Kids on the Frontline, pulled together evidence from an array of peer-reviewed research documenting that pesticide exposure has been linked various childhood cancers – including leukemia and brain tumors – and to various neurodevelopment disorders.
Children in agricultural communities are at especially high risk of contracting life-altering diseases because they live and play and go to school close to fields sprayed with pesticides. The chemical residues also make their way into children’s homes on the clothing of family members who work on farms.
The report says the best way to protect children is to “dramatically reduce the volume” of pesticide use from the staggering current total 1 billion pounds a year.
Although some conservation programs in the federal farm bill aim to support farmers who want to shift away from chemical-intensive agriculture, those programs account for a tiny fraction of agricultural conservation funding and just a fraction of one percent of the taxpayer dollars that goes to farmers every year.
Alarmingly, however, Congress is actually proposing to cut the programs that support farmers who want to cut down on their pesticide use in order to protect children’s health.
It’s time for Congress to reevaluate what’s important, because support for farmers shouldn’t come at the expense of our children’s health.