Researchers Examine Pesticide Impact
GRAND FORKS, N.D. University of North Dakota researchers are studying the impact of pesticides on children's ability to learn.
Tom Petros, a professor of psychology, said very little is known on the subject, so he and other scientists from the school's Center for Rural Health and the Department of Biology plan to study local school-age children.
The effort is being funded by a $100,000 grant from the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences.
The UND study involves children between the ages of 7 and 12, and the effect of their exposure to pesticides. Researchers also will look at impact of exposure to an insect repellent used in mosquito sprays.
Patricia Moulton, a researcher with the Center for Rural Health, said 22 children already have been tested for the study, and 15 more are being considered. She said tests will gauge the children's memorization, decision-making, motor skills and their ability to pay attention.
"We really think that there will be some sort of decrease in school achievement and memory," Moulton said.
Moulton said researchers would not seek to outlaw farming if their study indicates negative impacts on children. They would propose better warning systems to alert families when spraying is to be conducted, she said.
"It's a vital part of our economy," Moulton said of agriculture. "You have to use pesticides in farming to get a good crop. However, there are ways to protect children so that they can live normal happier lives."
Source: Associated Press