Pesticide exposure in children

James R. Roberts, Catherine J. Karr, Jerome A. Paulson, Alice C. Brock-Utne, Heather L. Brumberg, Carla C. Campbell, Bruce P. Lanphear, Kevin C. Osterhoudt, Megan T. Sandel, Leonardo Trasande, Robert O. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


This statement presents the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics on pesticides. Pesticides are a collective term for chemicals intended to kill unwanted insects, plants, molds, and rodents. Children encounter pesticides daily and have unique susceptibilities to their potential toxicity. 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 pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems. Related animal toxicology studies provide supportive biological plausibility for these findings. Recognizing and reducing problematic exposures will require attention to current inadequacies in medical training, public health tracking, and regulatory action on pesticides. Ongoing research describing toxicologic vulnerabilities and exposure factors across the life span are needed to inform regulatory needs and appropriate interventions. Policies that promote integrated pest management, comprehensive pesticide labeling, and marketing practices that incorporate child health considerations will enhance safe use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1757-e1763
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Children
  • Integrated pest management
  • Pest control
  • Pesticides
  • Toxicity


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