Because of their very nature, Easter egg hunts may provide one of the most direct routes for lawn chemicals to make their way into the mouths of children. Kids pick up hidden eggs or other "treasures" and place them in a basket along with candy and other edible goodies. Eventually, those tiny fingers are going to make their way INTO the mouths of babes.
The EPA website explains why children may be more vulnerable than adults when it comes to pesticides in landscapes:
Children are at a greater risk for some pesticides for a number of reasons. Children's internal organs are still developing and maturing and their enzymatic, metabolic, and immune systems may provide less natural protection than those of an adult. There are "critical periods" in human development when exposure to a toxin can permanently alter the way an individual's biological system operates.
Here are some other facts I found online about children and lawn chemicals.
CHILDREN & PESTICIDES - From Beyondpesticides.org
- Children take in more pesticides relative to body weight than adults and have developing organ systems that make them more vulnerable and less able to detoxify toxins. (x)
- The National Academy of Sciences estimates 50% of lifetime pesticide exposure occurs during the first 5 years of life. (xi)
- A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute finds home and garden pesticide use can increase the risk of childhood leukemia by almost seven times. (xii)
- Studies show low levels of exposure to actual lawn pesticide products are linked to increased rates of miscarriage, and suppression of the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. (xiii)
- Exposure to home and garden pesticides can increase a child’s likelihood of developing asthma. (xiv)
- Studies link pesticides with hyperactivity, developmental delays, behavioral disorders, and motor dysfunction. (xv)
- Children ages 6-11 have higher levels of lawn chemicals in their blood than all other age categories. Biomonitoring studies find that pesticides pass from mother to child through umbilical cord blood and breast milk. (xvi)
1) Have your Easter egg hunt in a chemical free landscape - Whether its your own yard or the yard of a friend, chemical free is definitely a better choice for a healthy hunt.
2) Make a call - If you plan on taking your child to a public park or other location for an Easter egg hunt, give them a call and find out what kind of chemicals they use on their landscape.
3) Wash up after the hunt - Take sanitizing wipes with you and wash your children's hands and any wrapped products that they picked up off the ground before they start chowing down on their Easter goodies.
For more information about
Easter Egg Hunts in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia
For more information: Children and Lawn Chemicals Don't Mix (pdf file)
Effects of Lawn Pesticides on Children and Pets