New Formula for Infants
For the first time, the U.S. EPA’s proposed guidelines for assessing the dangers of pesticides and other carcinogens presume that such chemicals pose a higher risk to infants and children. The guidelines call on environmental regulators to assume that children who are two or younger be considered 10 times more susceptible to hazardous chemicals than adults, while older children be considered three times as susceptible. The proposal is based on the greater developmental vulnerability of the very young, as well as the likelihood that children may be exposed to higher doses of toxic substance — for example, kids are more likely than adults to put foreign objects in their mouths. Environmental groups praised the stricter standards for children but feared that overall, the guidelines would enable industry to easily gain exemptions to the regulations.