3 years ago



Poisoned school children

Poisoned school children - USA “Agricultural land surrounds Mound Elementary School in Ventura County [California USA], with a lemon grove across the street and strawberries grown not far away. Complaints by neighbors about careless pesticide applications went unheeded by the County Agricultural Commissioner, until one day in November 2000 when a cloud of chlorpyrifos (Lorsban), an organophosphorus insecticide, drifted onto the school grounds from the lemon grove. Dozens of students and teachers complained of dizziness, headaches, and nausea following the early morning application. The grower did a second application later that week that also drifted onto the school grounds. Samples from the kindergarten room (45 feet from the grove), desks and play areas (hundreds of yards distant), and other campus locations tested positive for organophosphates.” | Kegley et al 2003 Poisoned School children – Sri Lanka In November 2010, Vikalpani National Women’s Federation carried out a case study in Nuwara Eliya District, Sri Lanka. They found that 119 schoolchildren, from a school of 519, had been admitted to hospital for pesticide poisoning, with nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fainting, and stomach pain. The school is next to a carrot plantation, where an organophosphate called Ocron had been used (the container label did not identify the active ingredient) (Vikalpani 2011). Nuwara Eliya District highlighted on map of Sri Lanka 22 /

Poisoned school children - Benin “On August 24, 1999, in the village of Maregourou [Benin], three boys between the age of 12 to 14 went to weed the cotton field of their father. The cotton crop was cultivated together with maize. The day before, the father had sprayed the field with endosulfan and the boys did not know. After the work, they were hungry and they took a few maize cobs to eat. Fifteen minutes later they started vomiting. They were taken to the hospital of Bembereke where one boy of 12 died. The two others survived.” (Ton et al 2000) 2.7 Schools Children at school can be subjected to pesticide exposures both from use in the schools and from nearby operations. In the USA, 2593 people, mainly children, were identified with acute pesticide exposure at school between 1988 and 2002. Sixty nine percent of cases arose from application of pesticides on the school grounds–diazinon, chlorpyrifos and malathion were commonly implicated. Thirteen percent of cases arose from spray drift from neighbouring operations–chlorothalonil, chlorpyrifos, cyfluthrin, dicofol, glyphosate, malathion, mancozeb, methamidophos, and propargite, were the main pesticides involved (Alarcon et al 2005). Acute effects are not the only concern with exposure via spray drift, with a growing number of epidemiological studies linking exposure to pesticide drift to chronic conditions in children such as autism spectrum disorders (Roberts et al 2007) and childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (Rull et al 2009). In the study in Costa Rica referred to in the previous section, such is the level of exposure of school children in the banana and plantain plantation areas drift from aerial applications close-by that teachers are meant to keep children inside during spraying. However, they frequently didn’t (Barraza et al 2011). 2.8 Accidental ingestions Children may also be exposed to pesticides stored in the home, both rural and urban, particularly where pesticides are stored in soft drink or other beverage bottles, still a common practice in some parts of Asia. Reuse of pesticide 2 » Exposure / 23

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