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Staying Away from Pesticides

Posted at: 11/29/2012 2:01 PM
Updated at: 11/29/2012 2:40 PM

One leading medical group is warning that chemicals meant to do good can pose a threat to the young. ABC's Dr. Timothy Johnson explains in this Medical Minute.

Pesticides are chemicals that kill insects and rodents and help control weeds, mildew, and germs.

Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics declares that children should have as little exposure to pesticides as possible. Experts say "children encounter pesticides daily and have unique susceptibilities to their potential toxicity."

Writing in the journal "Pediatrics," the group cites:

However for many children, the statement says, their diet may be the most influential source.

The group claims pediatricians have a poor track record of recognizing acute pesticide poisoning.

Even low levels of pesticide exposure, can lead to pediatric cancers, lower cognitive functioning, and behavioral problems.

The authors say doctors should be vigilant for symptoms of pesticide exposure -- and government should improve regulation of labeling and marketing.