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Health News India > 'Pesticides affect neuro development in children'

Chennai, Apr 8 (IANS) :

The wide use of pesticides in India's farm sector had led to children developing mental development disorders, the green watchdog body Greenpeace India has found in a nation-wide study.

This was particularly true of children working in the farms. The alarming findings have led experts to call for a halt on pesticide use in farms, a sector that employs large number of children as labour.

According to Greenpeace, the children studied by the organisation showed that the children had developed serious mental development disorders like poor motor skills and poor analytical skills.

Their cognitive-perceptive skills, too, were low and they had poor concentration and learning ability. Their memory was also impaired.

In the study, 898 children in six districts in six states of the country participated in control and test groups. They were divided into two age groups -- four to five and nine to 13.

The study showed that in 86 percent of the cases, in the younger children's group, those exposed to pesticides performed worse in skill tests than those not exposed.

In the older group, 85 percent of children exposed to pesticides showed poorer skills than unexposed groups.

Areas under cotton cultivation were studied as 55 percent of the pesticides used in India were in cotton farms, said a Greeenpeace official.

"This is the first time that such a country-wide study has been done to pin
responsibility for environmental and economic damage on large-scale pesticide use in India's farm sector," said Greenpeace India Executive Director G. Ananthapadmanabhan.

Large-scale use of chemical pesticides had dramatically altered the neuro-motor profile of the exposed children, the report says. Rapid assessment tools like ability to catch a ball, assemble a puzzle and balancing tests were used.

© 2003 Jasano Media, All rights reserved


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