If your child has a health or a developmental problem, it could be caused by pesticides. Scientists have discovered this week that the pollutants can affect children up to the age of seven - five years longer than they have thought.
This means that children are being exposed to pesticides in the home when they are still vulnerable, and it could also account for a health or developmental problem.
Scientists have advised government agencies that children over the age of two had immune systems that could cope with pesticides, but a new study has discovered that many who were aged seven were still sensitive. Children are up to five times more susceptible than adults to the organophosphates in pesticides.
The new study, among 458 children living in rural areas, found that the body's ability to detoxify still hadn't kicked in at the age of seven, though scientists believed it did so from the age of two. They thought the detoxifying enzyme, paraoxonase 1 (PON1), started to develop from the age of two, but they discovered it was still at very low levels in children aged as old as seven.
This means there could be a major overhaul of safety standards on products that are allowed in the home, and on pesticides used on farms. It also means that doctors now have to look for toxins as a possible cause of health and developmental problems in children up to the age of seven.
(Source: University of California, Berkeley).