Friday, November 16, 2007

Pesticides: Statistics, Asthma, Children, Pets & Fleas

Pesticides are widely used in agricultural production, in factories and offices, in homes and restaurants, and in schools. Schools, with their kitchens and cafeterias, athletic fields and playgrounds, classrooms and offices, are regularly treated with a variety of pesticides.

An increasing body of scientific data on the harmful effects of pesticide exposure on people, animals and the environment raises concern about the broad use of these toxic substances. The widespread use of pesticides is a major environmental problem and a public health issue.

The least we can do is to get them out of our homes for the sake of the children and pets if we don't care about ourselves. Their low body weight increases the risks involved.

Poisoning Statistics
According to data collected from Poison Control Centers, in 2004 alone, an estimated 71,000 children were involved in common household pesticide-related poisonings1 orexposures in the United States.

A survey by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regarding pesticides used in and around the home revealed these significant findings:

* Almost half (47%) of all households with children under the age of 5 had at least one pesticide stored in an unlocked cabinet, less than 4 feet off the ground (i.e., within the reach of children).

* Approximately 75% of households without children under the age of 5 stored pesticides in an unlocked cabinet, less than 4 feet off the ground. This number is especially significant because 13% of all pesticide poisoning incidents occur in homes other than the child's home.

There are alternatives (see below). There are extermination services that use non-toxic methods. Sprays and powders that don't have an odor aren't necessarily non-toxic. Find a business that is using "integrated pest management" methods.

Asthma In Children
Researchers have found that pesticide exposure can induce a poisoning effect linked to asthma. Asthma is fast becoming an epidemic in our schools. Did you know that nearly 1 in 8 school-aged children have asthma? This rate is rising most rapidly in pre-school aged children. Asthma is the leading cause of school absenteeism due to chronic illness.

Children face unique hazards from pesticide exposure. They take in more pesticides relative to their body weight than adults in the food they eat and air they breathe. Their developing organ systems often make them more sensitive to toxic exposure. Fortunately, organic solutions exist to keep you and your children safe.

Take action. Get more information on what you can do and send a postcard to your school from Beyond Pesticides.

Pet Poisoning
Pet lovers around the world were horrified at the tragedy of thousands of animals dying from a chemical in mass-produced pet foods. It should not have happened. But what about the chemicals we expose them to daily in our home? Toxic cleaning supplies and pesticides do enough damage in humans, without considering the effects in animals with less weight.

Fleas on Pets and In The Home
Flea collars are often purchased for pets at the first sign of the first flea, or even as a prophylactic. The problem is they expose both people and pets to toxic vapors 24 hours a day. The substances the collars are imbued with may be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Your pets may develop dermatitis on their necks from the collars. Cats are especially susceptible. Humans can also get rashes.

In general, flea collars are not particularly helpful. They may kill a flea here and there in your pet's fur, but they will not touch the masses of fleas hiding in your carpet or yard. Here's an essential oil recipe for an Herbal Doggie Flea/Mosquito Collar. You can use this same recipe in a spray to use before and after your dog goes outside.

Understand the life cycle of fleas.

Alternative Natural Choices
There are many brands that now produce household cleaning supplies and organic gardening and household solutions to bugs and garden diseases. Our favorite natural product is Sunshine Concentrate.

It has replaced a wide variety of products on our cabinet shelves since I use it for counter tops and bathrooms (adding Lemon Essential Oil for antimicrobial properties), laundry (grease and stains included), dishes, floors, woodwork, soaking fruits and veggies, shower gel, hand soap, garden fertilizer, car wash and car windshield solution, indoor plants, and most recently I use it in the humidifier to eliminate scum and mineral deposits. By the way, you won't have any soap scum in your showers or at your sinks using this, so it saves on cleaning time too. Sunshine Concentrate goes a long way and takes up less storage space.

You can find a variety of products for home, garden and pets at Planet Natural.

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