Researchers in the US have found that exposure to pesticides at an early age can affect a child’s lung function as they get older.
The study, published in the journal, Thorax, involved 279 children living in Salinas Valley, California, an area where a lot of farming takes place and where pesticides are used. The children were part of a larger research project, in which they were monitored from their mother’s pregnancy to their teenage years.
As part of this study, the researchers collected five urine samples from the children when they were between the ages of 6 months and 5 years old. The scientists measured the levels of pesticides in each urine sample. When each child reached the age of 7, their lung function was measured with a spirometry test.
Children exposed to higher levels of pesticides were found to have poorer lung function. The researchers noted that this effect was similar to that found in children who breathe in second-hand smoke.
The researchers claim that their study is the first to find this type of link between exposure to pesticides and lung function in children, and have called for further attention to the issue.
Read the abstract of the journal article.
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