A recent policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics points out that children encounter pesticides every day and are uniquely vulnerable to their toxicity. Metro natural gardening expert Carl Grimm offered tips on how to reduce your children's exposure to pesticides.
So, why are kids more vulnerable to pesticides than adults?
Since children are closer to the floor where pesticide-laden dust is common, and since they often touch things and then put their hands in their mouth, they tend to ingest more than adults - even when pesticides are used and stored according to label instructions.
More disturbing is that small exposures to pesticides during crucial windows of development could have life-long health impacts.
Indeed, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently reported that "prenatal and early childhood exposure to pesticides is associated with pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function and behavioral problems."
Fortunately it is surprisingly easy to garden without toxic pesticides.
The first step is to detoxify your garage and safely dispose of your garden chemicals at a Metro household hazardous waste facility. If you do store pesticides, be sure they are out of reach of children and under lock and key.
The second step is to practice nontoxic gardening, starting with spreading mulch in landscaped areas to prevent weeds, conserve water, and contribute toward long-term soil fertility.
Wood chips, crushed rock, shredded bark and hazelnut shells all make great mulches, and they suppress weeds without herbicides.
Do you have questions about controlling particular pests without pesticides?
Oregon State University Extension Service Master Gardeners™ can answer them for free!
Master Gardener volunteers in partnership with Metro, run hotlines year round and in-person clinics at farmers' markets spring through fall.
Metro and Master Gardeners can help you garden with the least-toxic methods to protect the ones you love.
To be connected with your county's OSU Extension Service Master Gardeners™, and to get your free pesticide disposal coupon, simply call Metro at 234-3-0-0-0!