Pesticide danger to children

Many will have seen Professor Britton, of the Royal College of Physicians, on national TV networks, advocating a no-smoking ban in public areas, while he stood in front of a children s playground.

Many will have seen Professor Britton, of the Royal College of Physicians, on national TV networks, advocating a no-smoking ban in public areas, while he stood in front of a children's playground. Viewers may not have been aware of a more insidious danger to children, one which seldom receives mention in the press.

The widespread use of pesticides close to children's playgrounds and in other public places often occurs without warning signs. The most common pesticide to be used, including by some local authorities, contains glyphosate, an endocrine-disrupting chemical, and also a surfactant, which together ensure ground penetration and lasting sticking qualities.

Research at the University of Caen has suggested links from this pesticide at low levels of exposure to birth defects and miscarriages. In Sweden, a scientific team found that exposure is a risk factor for people developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

This month, a court in Argentina has upheld a decision, which blocks the use of chemicals, including glyphosate, within 800 metres of the town of San Jorge. This decision, while relating to a restricted area, is likely to have far-reaching implications.

A major concern is that pesticide poisoning occurs as a cumulative effect and children, therefore, are at a high risk through prolonged exposure.

Those who share this concern may wish to respond to a DEFRA consultation on the approach to be taken to an EU directive on the sustainable use of pesticides on

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http://consultations.hse.gov.uk/inovem/consult.ti/eupesticides/consultationHome

Jane Johnson,

43 Capel Lane,

Exmouth.