Children and Toxic Chemicals

"E-mail to a friend"   
Deborah Elaine Barrie Feb.12 2003 Published in Vitality magazine March 2003

The true Cost of Chemicals

In a day and age where we increasingly seek a quick solution to our problems we find ourselves confronted by the cost that we are really paying for convenience.

Health and environmental groups around the world are calling for bans and action on everything from pesticides, phthalates in perfumes, arsenic and chromium in CCA pressure treated wood to lead contamination in our homes. Medical groups such as the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment educate their members and lobby for change.

Their president, Dr Warren Bell, has expressed his concern that doctors are not educated on the prevention and treatment of environmental illnesses and diseases in our institutions of learning so therefore those effected have little opportunity for treatment. Scientists are conducting studies on the effects of these chemicals and presence in the average person with alarming results.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) just released a study showing 116 chemicals in the blood and urine of subjects, chemicals stored in body fat were not taken into consideration and children showed the highest levels of pesticides.

DNA Damage in Babies

A special by Bill Moyers last year entitled Kids and Toxins dealt with many issues including the damage done to the DNA of babies from the chemicals their mothers breathed in while pregnant. Dr. Elizabeth A. Guillette, world renowned anthropologist, with the University of Florida has documented alarming differences in the Yaqui Valley Mexican children who have been exposed to pesticides compared to the children in the foothills who do not face the same contamination. These changes include premature breast formation and cognitive and motor difficulties.

Seeking Ban - Massive increases in chemicals

The Environmental Working Group, one of many organizations working to seek a ban on CCA pressure treated wood have recently released a study on toxins in the body as well. They tested the blood and urine of nine people who did not work with chemicals or live near industry for 210 pollutants and found traces of 167 of them. Since World War II there has been a huge increase in chemicals, some 750,000 have been introduced. Increases in many diseases have also risen since that time at alarming rates.

Increase in autism

In 1998, nearly 800 kids in Ontario, younger than 6 were newly diagnosed with the neurological disorder autism, a 53 per cent jump over the same period two years earlier, stated a study released at Queen's Park by Michael Gravelle in March 2000. Science magazine has reported that "As science progresses, large numbers of epidemiological studies continue to find evidence that short-term and long-term exposures to low concentrations of particles are associated with sizable numbers of morbidity and mortality events in developed urban areas around the world."

Hilary Stead of the Guelph Mercury staff published an article quoting Patrick Kehoe as stating that as owner of Halton lawn care company he sees first hand how pesticides caused illness in those who worked in the industry and that he supported a ban.

On Feb. 7 2003 the Consumer Product Safety Commission released it's Health risk assessment on the dangers of CCA treated wood to children. Among their findings were that children had a 2 to 100 chance in one million of developing cancer from playing on these structures. A one in a million risk is usually the cause for the government to take notice. As the CPSC meets in March to decide on whether to seek a total ban on CCA in playground equipment you might feel like sticking your head in the sand. Not a good idea. The warnings of Dr.Dieter Riedel of Health Canada and Dr David Stilwell of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station have been confirmed once again by a cross Canada study of playgrounds released in Environmental Defence Canada, the sand is full of arsenic.

References The entire Center for Disease Control (CDC) report is online at

Guelph mercury story

Residues of Arsenic, Chromium, and Copper on and Near Playground Structures Built of Wood Pressure -Treated with "CCA" Type Preservatives Unpublished study by Dieter Riedel available by emailing Unpublished study by Dr Dieter Riedel