March 01, 2023

What Every Parent should know about Protecting Kids from Pesticides

What Every Parent should know about Protecting Kids from Pesticides

Written by Pamela Lim,

Pesticide exposure can affect your child's health today and in the future. In fact, some effects may not become apparent until later in life.

Should you be concerned about pesticides in the food your child eats?

Here’s what you need to know as a parent.

Children are at higher risk for health effects from exposure to pesticides than adults, because their internal organs are still developing and maturing. They can come into contact with pesticides stored or applied in their homes, yards, child care centres, schools, parks, or on pets.

Infants may also be exposed to more pesticide than adults because they take more breaths per minute and have more skin surface relative to their body weight. 

Half of our lifetime exposure to pesticides occurs in the first 5 years of life. It begins in utero.  I find that frightening.

In countless studies, exposure to pesticides have been linked to cancer, Alzheimer's Disease, ADHD, increasing your chances of having a miscarriage, a baby with birth defects, or other problems. Some pesticides also may be able to pass into breast milk. Pesticides also have the potential to harm the nervous system, the reproductive system, and the endocrine system.

According to The American Academy of Paediatrics  "Children encounter pesticides daily and have unique susceptibilities to their potential toxicity," says the paediatrician’s statement. "Acute poisoning risks are clear, and understanding of chronic health implications from both acute and chronic exposure are emerging.  Epidemiologic evidence demonstrates associations between early life exposure to pesticides and paediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioural problems."

Children may be exposed more to certain pesticides because often they eat different foods than adults. Children's behaviours, such as playing on the floor or on the lawn where pesticides are commonly applied, or putting objects in their mouths, increase their chances of exposure to pesticides.

How can you reduce your exposure to pesticides and herbicides?  

  • Buy organic animal meats, animal fat, cheese, milk and eggs. 
  • Try to stay away from GMO foods.  Buy non-GMO foods.  You should be aware that 80% of packaged foods contains GMO’s.
  • Look for locally grown produce. Fruits and vegetables that are grown far away require after-harvest pesticides and waxes to help them survive the long trip. And produce that has to travel is often picked before ripening, which reduces flavour as well as nutrients.
  • You can check out EWG's The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. The EWG estimates that people can lower their pesticide exposure by 90% by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated instead.
  • Peel fruits and vegetables, and remove the outer leaves of vegetables like lettuce and cabbage.
  • Scrub (under running water) all fruits and vegetables that you can't peel. Cleaning products specifically designed to wash produce may also help.
  • Some foods – like strawberries, grapes, broccoli, lettuce, and spinach – are more difficult to wash. Soak these briefly, then rinse.
  • Choose produce without mould, bruising, and decay. These are likely to harbour more pesticides.
  • Trim the fat off meat and remove the skin from poultry. Pesticides (and other environmental chemicals) are often concentrated in the fat and skin of poultry, meat, and fish.
  • Drink purified water.  This is super important because pesticides and herbicidesend up in our water supply. 
  • Have a ‘no shoes’ policy in your home.
  • Try to avoid places where you know they spray. Golf courses are especially toxic.
  • Ask your neighbours, or get notification from your town councils when they use pesticides or herbicides and make sure your windows are closed during the application and for at least a week after. 

While we can’t limit all of our children’s exposures to toxins in the environment, we do have a say in the food they eat.

By having safe food choices, I put my trust in the creation of Taleii’s baby food blends and truly appreciate their efforts to ensure that they are freshly made, nutritiously well balanced and safe for the family. In fact, all their products are tested for heavy metals, lead, pesticides and other contaminates, contain no added sugar, preservatives, concentrates or additives. Best of all, they are dairy and gluten free!

Becoming aware and knowing how to limit the exposure to all these harmful chemicals in the environment and in the food you consume is the best thing you can do for the health of you and your family.