also come under scrutiny as preventable exposures. There is recognition of the need to reduce
pesticide residues in the North American diet, as recommended by the seminal
work of the National Academy of Sciences. This is driving the thrust for new
child-centred standards in the U.S.
anthropologist Dr. Elizabeth Guillette, has been studying pre-school children
in northwestern Mexico for neurobehavioural impacts from pesticide exposure.
Children from the agricultural Yaqui Valley Indian community are routinely
exposed to aerial pesticide spraying as well as daily household bug spraying
and there have been high levels of organochlorine pesticides measured in
newborn cord blood and breast milk in this community.
this group to children from the foothills region, who are less exposed but
are similar for other features (such as genetic origin, living conditions,
diet, social and cultural behaviours) that might influence growth and
development. These drawings done by the Yaqui Indian children show dramatic
evidence of the neurodevelopmental effects from high exposure to pesticides.
Children from the exposed valley community had impaired motor co-ordination,
balance and memory and less stamina. Dr. Guillette reports recently that a
second visit to the community two years later found that the valley children
are sick more often and are still displaying delayed development.