Draw Your Own Conclusions

In Mexico's Sonora's Yaqui Valley farmers spray their crops with pesticides as often as 45 times per crop cycle and farm families tend to use household bug sprays daily. The children of Yaqui Valley farmers are born with detectable levels of many pesticides in their blood and receive further exposure through breastfeeding.

University of Arizona anthropologist Elizabeth A. Guillette tested the children from these farms against children from the foothills, where pesticides are seldom used. The June issue of Environmental Health Perspectives explains how the two groups of 4 and 5 year-olds were asked to catch balls, drop raisins into bottle caps, jump up and down for as long as they could, and draw pictures of people. Science News reports that the Yaqui Valley children "demonstrated significantly less stamina, gross and fine eye-hand coordination, 30-minute recall, and drawing ability."

The results horrified neurotoxicologist David 0. Carpenter of the State University of New York at Albany. "I know of no other study that has looked at neurobehavioural impacts," Carpenter stated. "The implications here are quite horrendous."

(Earth Island Institute, Fall 1998).

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