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50 Years After "Silent Spring": Pesticides, Children's Health and the State of the Science

Oct 11, 2012


50 years ago, in Silent Spring, Rachel Carson said, "If we are going to live so intimately with these [agricultural] chemicals--eating and drinking them--taking them into the very marrow of our bones--we had better know something about their nature and their power". On the 50th anniversary of Silent Spring, a new report from the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) reviews dozens of new studies examining the impacts of pesticides on children's health--impacts that include learning and behavioral problems, altered timing of puberty, and cancer.

Although the data are relatively new, the impacts of agricultural chemicals on children's health and development was a core concern of Ms. Carson. While there have been improvements in pesticide regulation and use, this report documents there is still much to accomplish in order to protect this and future generations.

On this call Emily Marquez, PhD, Staff Scientist at the Pesticide Action Network discussed the highlights and findings of the new report and Bruce Lanphear, MD, MPH, Senior Scientist a the Child and Family Research Institute at the British Columbia Children’s Hospital and Professor of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University discussed the impact of pesticide exposures during pregnancy and early childhood development.

Featured speakers:

Bruce Lanphear, MD, MPH, is a Senior Scientist at the Child & Family Research Institute, BC Children's Hospital and Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. The goal of his research is to prevent common diseases and disabilities in children, such as asthma and ADHD. To quantify the contribution of risk factors, he tests various ways to measure children's exposures to environmental toxicants using novel biomarkers measured during pregnancy and early childhood. Dr. Lanphear also designs experimental trials to test the efficacy of reducing children's exposures to environmental hazards on asthma symptoms and behavioral problems.
 

Emily Marquez, PhD, is a Staff Scientist at PAN. Dr. Marquez began studying reptiles as an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, working on effects of sex steroids on sex determination and development in snakes, turtles, and lizards. While in graduate school at Boston University, she studied live-bearing snakes and wrote her thesis on the impact of contaminated soil on expression of genes that play a role in reproduction, using turtles as a model. Before joining PAN in 2012, Emily did postdoctoral research at UC Davis and UC Berkeley. She has also volunteered at the nonprofit Bikes Not Bombs, teaching bike mechanics to youth from the Boston area. Emily manages PAN's Grassroots Science Program, including community monitoring of air and water for pesticide exposure.

 

 

The call wasmoderated by Elise Miller, MEd, CHE Director.

 

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