Our Stolen Futurea book by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers


  Repetto, R and S Baliga. 1996. Pesticides and the Immune System: The Public Health Risks. World Resources Institute.

  Repetto and Baliga conducted an exhaustive survey of existing health science literature on the impacts of pesticides on immune system function, including laboratory studies of animals and epidemiological studies of people, and supplemented that with reviews of previously unpublished and/or confidential data on pesticide use patterns worldwide.

They report that the mortality rate from the common infectious diseases, already by far the biggest killer in developing nations, may be driven in part by pesticide exposure. Existing studies makes this highly plausible but are insufficient for definitive proof. What is clear is that pesticides do impair immune system function in specific cases, sometimes severely, and that the impact of this additional immunosuppression may be the final straw for people already vulnerable to infectious diseases.

"Children are particularly susceptible to the effects of pesticides on their immune systems. In the agricultural districts of central Moldova, where pesticides have been used heavily, 80 percent of healthy children had suppressed immunity. Children from these areas were three times more likely to have infectious diseases of the digestive tract, and two to five times more likely to have infectious diseases of the respiratory tract. Workers in pesticide factories and on farms in the area exhibited elevated rates of infectious diseases of the digestive, urinary, respiratory, and female genital tracts."

In commenting on his findings, Dr. Repetto observed that; "New research may well show that the most widespread public health threat from pesticides is immunosuppression that weakens the body's resistance to infectious diseases and to cancers. We are calling on the World Health Organization to spearhead a large-scale research program into links between pesticides and damage to the immune system, and on major pesticide companies, multilateral banks, and the W.H.O.'s member governments to finance this important public health campaign."





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