Green Parenting: How Parents Can Protect Kids From Everyday Pesticides

Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or treating any pest. Pesticides are used to control things that are considered to be harmful (think ants, wasps, bees, weeds, mosquitoes, fleas, worms and rodents). Some common pesticides are crop sprays farmers use, ant/wasp/bee/weed/mouse killer sprays or powders, fumigation for fleas and anything put on foods before or after harvest to protect it from deteriorating.

Let’s just say, it’s not something I want to put in my children’s or my mouth and I’m pretty sure you agree with me on that. But it goes beyond just ingesting it; unfortunately, we also breath it and it is in our water too. This is what is referred to as pesticide drift; only 2% of pesticides reach their targeted destination (source: Miller GT, Sustaining the Earth).

I just received the most informative email from a friend, Rachel Sarnoff, founder Mommy Greenest and former director of Healthy Child Healthy World, about pesticide exposure and its effects on our children. Here is what Rachel had to say about why she is spreading awareness about this issue:

Ever since I heard Healthy Child Healthy World co-founder Nancy Chuda’s story of losing her five-year-old daughter Colette to cancer caused by pesticide exposure, I’ve been mobilized to build awareness of this issue.

Here are a few reasons why this knowledge is so important:

  • Pesticide exposure has been linked to asthma, allergies, autism and even cancer—rates of which have risen 30% in 30 years and now kill more kids than asthma, diabetes, AIDS, cystic fibrosis and birth defects combined.
  • Most of our children’s pesticide exposure comes from the foods that they eat—but just one day of eating differently can remove most pesticides from their bodies completely.
  • Household exposure to pesticides—from pest eradication products and food—is now shown to have the same negative effects on pregnancy as cigarette smoking: lower birth weight and earlier labor.

Here is a five-minute guide to protecting your kids from pesticides on Mommy Greenest that I wanted to share with you.

Inspired? I know I am and just as I said the first day I wrote this column, I’m not perfect but little by little I am striving to make some conscious steps to do it better. All it takes is one day to get pesticides out of our systems; I can do that.

Green Parenting is published every Friday. Questions, ideas or comments, email Elise Jones.

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