Some newborns may be 26 to 50 times more susceptible to exposure to certain organophosphate pesticides than other newborns, and 65 to 130 times more sensitive than some adults, according to a new study by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Washington.
The study, to be published Thursday, March 2, in the journal Pharmacogenetics and Genomics, reveals far greater variability in susceptibility to pesticides than previously predicted. Current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards require an extra tenfold safety factor to protect children compared with adults if there are gaps in information about the childrens susceptibility. The EPA may select a lower safety factor if it determines that enough information is available, and based on an EPA review, many other pesticides have lower or no additional safety factors.
But the new study "raises the question of whether current standards for safe levels of pesticide exposure are sufficiently protective of a vulnerable population," said Nina Holland, UC Berkeley adjunct professor of environmental health sciences and co-lead author of the paper. "Based on our study, I feel that more research is urgently needed to establish whether the standards need to be re-evaluated."
Liese Greensfelder | EurekAlert!
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