Times of India
affect mental development
THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2004 01:27:23 PM ]
AMRITSAR: The pesticides can effect the development
of mental health of children among the agriculture communities using the
pesticides intensively, according to a study conducted by Greenpeace.
The study, conducted in 18 villages of six states chosen for their high
levels of pesticide consumption, revealed distressing effects on the
mental health of children of agricultural communities, Greenpeace and its
partner for Punjab project, Kheti Virasat, said at seminar here yesterday.
The research was conducted in three villages of
Bhatinda by using a Rapid Assessment Tool (RAT) that helps document the
abilities of children and assess their development and results were
compared with the results of a Control Group - children belonging to
similar demographic groups but not exposed to pesticides, they said.
In Punjab, the difference between the Study Group and
Control Group children is "singularly stark". Control Group Children in
the 4-5 year age group performed "conclusively better" in 87 per cent of
the tests administered. Control Group children displayed better abilities
in 85 per cent of the tests administered to the 9-13 age group.
"When we started this study, it was with the
awareness that we would probably find unsettling evidence of children
damaged by neuro-toxic chemicals present in pesticides", said Kavitha
Kuruganti, Principal Investigator of the study.
"But nothing could have prepared us for the extent of
damage we'd discover. We've seen children unable to perform simple
play-based exercises... simply because they've been exposed to pesticides
over a period of time," she added.
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