Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 56

CHILDREN, PESTICIDES, AND FOOD - Kolmes Consider the information available from the website called Beyond Pesticides.6 They have compiled records of scientific papers about different kinds of cancers. Go to the website and look at the part about brain cancer in children, because pediatric brain cancer has become an epidemic. Each of those little paragraphs you will see is a summary of one scientific article linking childhood brain cancer to pesticide exposure. This is certainly worst for people who work on farms or live near farms. If you’re a farmworker and you’re spraying pesticides, you’re exposed and probably your children are exposed. If you live near a farm, then you get pesticide drift. But actually it turns out that even household pesticide use is a problem. During five years preceding a child’s birth, when the mother was exposed to pesticides in the home, then later the brain cancer risk for her child goes up. Even if your child is not going to be born for three, four, five years, pesticides are extremely toxic and we use them far too casually. You can go to that website and look at the depressing studies. One of the ways a lot of people get exposed is lawn care products. People have their lawn sprayed. And the people who come in to spray your lawn spray to kill everything except grass—everything that might happen to show up in your lawn because you’re going to complain if your lawn doesn’t look beautiful, green, and so forth. If you ever see one of these companies spray, they’ll put up those little signs all over the lawn. These signs say, “This area has been chemically treated. Keep pets and chil dren off.” And you are supposed to keep the signs up for twenty-four hours. This speaks of a heartwarming and naïve belief in the pesticide fairy who will come down in the middle of the night and remove the toxins from your lawn. The sad thing is that there is no pesticide fairy and when you take the signs off your lawn, it is still toxic. Children who grow up in the households where their lawns are treated have higher rates of leukemia. Woman 2: I grew up spending my summers on a lake in Wisconsin. Every year, they would spray the lake to get rid of the seaweed so that you could swim in it. They would have signs up for days. Do the toxins just stay in there? SK: The concentration diminishes over time, but certainly they are still there in lower doses. 6. Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database, s.v. “Pesticide-Induced Diseases: Cancer,” Beyond Pesticides, accessed February 2, 2016, http://www.beyondpesticides.org/resources/pesticide-induced-diseasesdatabase/cancer#brain. 53