Protecting children from pesticide exposure

Photo credit: Justine Warrington

California has proposed a rule to protect children from pesticide exposure by requiring a buffer of 0.25 miles around schools and childcare facilities where use of agricultural pesticides are limited. A recent study published in PLOS Biology explored what is known from the literature regarding this regulation. It determined that given variation in the toxicity of different pesticides, the methods by which they are applied, the combinations of pesticides used, and the persistence of those chemical in the environment, a buffer of 0.25 miles, while a step in the right direction, may not be adequate to protect children. Furthermore, there is lack of research on these topics for many commonly used pesticides. The authors discuss a number of additional policy recommendations including measures to protect exposure to pregnant women, notification of application for nearby residents, and conversion of agricultural land near schools and residential areas to organic production.