People at Risk

The toxic effects of pesticides can affect anyone. Children and pregnant women are, however, particularly vulnerable to these effects.

Children are more vulnerable to pesticides than adults for a number of reasons:

  • Children’s skin surface area relative to body weight is higher than in adults
  • Children absorb some pesticides more easily through their skin than adults
  • Children are less able to deal with the toxic effect of pesticides because their metabolism has not reached maturity
  • Babies and young children spend more time on the ground, where pesticides are applied and build up
  • Children can easily come into contact with objects contaminated by pesticides

Exposure to certain pesticides during pregnancy can adversely affect a child’s development in the short or medium term. Pregnant women should therefore avoid exposure to or handling pesticides.