From: University of California – Berkeley
Published August 16, 2017 04:49 PM

Heavily used pesticide linked to breathing problems in farmworkers' children

Elemental sulfur, the most heavily used pesticide in California, may harm the respiratory health of children living near farms that use the pesticide, according to new research led by UC Berkeley.

In a study of children in the Salinas Valley’s agricultural community, researchers found significant associations between elemental sulfur use and poorer respiratory health. The study linked reduced lung function, more asthma-related symptoms and higher asthma medication use in children living about a half-mile or less from recent elemental sulfur applications compared to unexposed children.

The Environmental Protection Agency generally considers elemental sulfur as safe for the environment and human health, but previous studies have shown that it is a respiratory irritant to exposed farmworkers. Elemental sulfur’s effect on residential populations, especially children, living near treated fields has not previously been studied despite the chemical’s widespread use and potential to drift from the fields where it is applied. This study is the first to link agricultural use of sulfur with poorer respiratory health in children living nearby.

Read more at University of California – Berkeley

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