James Perrin, MD, immediate past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, has focused his career on the dramatic rise of chronic health problems in young children in the past 50 years; he calls these “the new epidemics,” including ADHD, asthma, autism, obesity, childhood cancer. No one source has been identified as a cause for these increases, yet research has demonstrated that increased exposure to “environmental toxins” represents one main contributing factor to increases in early childhood chronic health problems.
Abundant evidence from the behavioral and the neurobiological sciences has documented a wide range of environmental threats to the developing central nervous system, including environmental toxins beginning early in the prenatal period. Chemicals that can mimic or block estrogen or other hormones are commonly found in thousands of products around the world, including plastics, pesticides, furniture, and cosmetics. Exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals is likely leading to an increased risk of serious health problems costing at hundreds of billions of dollars a year in every geographical zones across the globe.
Islands in Hawaii have a long history of contamination by extensive and continuous chemical use in sugar cane and pineapple production, and Hawaii’s communities continue high, year-round exposures to biocides as agrichemical companies have researched and commercialized seed development across the state for over 30 years. In 2014 alone, Hawaii Department of Agriculture reported amounts of Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs) shipped into Hawaii included over 900,000 pounds of RUPs for corporate agrochemical seed research and development.
Approving stronger regulations and ensuring these regulations are met must be at the top of our agenda in the next year. DISCLOSURE: requiring large scale RUP users to disclose the name and amount of the chemicals they are using, the time and place. BUFFER ZONES: requiring large scale RUP users to create buffer zones around schools, pre-schools, elder care facilities, hospitals, all serving Hawaii’s most vulnerable populations. What a difference this could make to our keiki, families and communities!