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Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children
and developmental stages within species. For example, if a substance is cytotoxic in adults, it is usually also cytotoxic in immature individuals.
Lack of data on pesticide toxicity in developing organisms was a recurrent problem encountered by the committee. In particular, little work has been done to identify effects that develop after a long latent period or to investigate the effects of pesticide exposure on neurotoxic, immunotoxic, or endocrine responses in infants and children. The committee therefore had to rely mostly on incomplete information derived from studies in mature animals and on chemicals other than pesticides.
The committee reviewed current EPA requirements for toxicity testing by pesticide manufacturers, as well as testing modifications proposed by the agency. In general, the committee found that current and past studies conducted by pesticide manufacturers are designed primarily to assess pesticide toxicity in sexually mature animals. Only a minority of testing protocols have supported extrapolation to infant and adolescent animals. Current testing protocols do not, for the most part, adequately address the toxicity and metabolism of pesticides in neonates and adolescent animals or the effects of exposure during early developmental stages and their sequelae in later life.
Age-Related Differences in Exposure
Estimation of the exposures of infants and children to pesticide residues requires information on (1) dietary composition and (2) residue concentrations in and on the food and water consumed. The committee found that infants and children differ both qualitatively and quantitatively from adults in their exposure to pesticide residues in foods. Children consume more calories of food per unit of body weight than do adults. But at the same time, infants and children consume far fewer types of foods than do adults. Thus, infants and young children may consume much more of certain foods, especially processed foods, than do adults. And water consumption, both as drinking water and as a food component, is very different between children and adults.
The committee concluded that differences in diet and thus in dietary exposure to pesticide residues account for most of the differences in pesticide-related health risks that were found to exist between children and adults. Differences in exposure were generally a more important source of differences in risk than were age-related differences in toxicologic vulnerability.
Data from various food consumption surveys were made available to the committee. In analyzing these data, the committee found it necessary to create its own computer programs to convert foods as consumed into their component raw agricultural commodities (RACs). This analytic approach