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

October 11, 2012
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources

Speaker Presentation Slides

Dr. Marquez: presentation slides (PDF)

Additional Resources

New report: A Generation in Jeopardy: How pesticides are undermining our children’s health & intelligence
Kids today are sicker than they were a generation ago. From childhood cancers to learning disabilities and asthma, a wide range of childhood diseases and disorders are on the rise. Emerging science, detailed in PAN's comprehensive report — A Generation in Jeopardy — shows exposure to pesticides where kids live, learn and play is a key factor in this disturbing trend.

Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA)

PANNA's Children's webpage

PANNA's Schools and Playgrounds webpage

Related posts from PANNA's blog, Ground Truth:

2012 Systematic Review of Pesticide Health Effects, Ontario College of Family Physicians

Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) study
The CHAMACOS Study is a longitudinal birth cohort study examining chemicals and other factors in the environment and children’s health.

Hormones and Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: Low-Dose Effects and Nonmonotonic Dose Responses, Endocrine Reviews. March 2012

Chemical exposures cause child IQ losses that rival major diseases, Environmental Health Perspectives, February 2012

Our Stolen Future

Listen to Recording

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 at 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 was moderated by Elise Miller, MEd, CHE director.