Pesticide Use Impairs Abilities of Children in India

According to a study just released by Greenpeace, children from villages in the cotton-cultivating northern states of India, who are exposed to high levels of pesticides, suffer from poor memory and impaired analytical and motor skills. A control group of children not exposed to pesticides performed 80 percent better on a series of tests than the exposed kids. Farmers in northern India make heavy use of pesticides, sometimes several different kinds, spraying up to 30 times a day. Greenpeace called on farmers to move to organic cultivation, and called on global pesticide manufacturers to stop dumping products in India they wouldn’t sell in Europe or the U.S. In other bummer kid news, UNICEF reports that water and sanitation-related diarrheal diseases (and here we pause to shudder) kill some 2 million children each year, or about 5,000 a day.