Exposure to flower pesticide may increase blood pressure in children and put them at risk of high blood pressure, a study has found
Researchers at the University of California San Diego in the US found a link between high blood pressure and pesticide exposures in children - especially the heightened pesticide spraying period around the Mother's Day flower harvest, a holiday with flowers of the highest sale.
The study, published in the journal Environmental Research, involved boys and girls living near flower crops in Ecuador.
According to the researchers, Ecuador is the largest commercial flower growers in the world, with significant rose exports to North America, Europe and Asia. Commercial rose production relies on the use of insecticides, fungicides and other pest controls, but little is known about their human health effects.
"These findings are not worth mentioning in that the first study to describe that the pesticide spray season is not only the exposure to insecticides of children living near agriculture but can increase their blood pressure and overall risk for hypertension," said Jose R Suarez, an assistant professor at UC San Diego
The team assessed 313 boys and girls, ages four to nine, residing in floricultural communities in Ecuador The children of examined up to 100 days after the Mother's Day harvest.
"We observed that children's examined sooner after the Mother's Day harvest was highly pesticide exposures and high systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to children examined later," said Suarez.
"In addition, children who were examined within 81 days after the harvest were three times more likely to be hypertension than children examined between 91 and 100 days," he said.
Research related to the effects of pesticides on the cardiovascular system is limited, but Suarez said there was some evidence that insecticides, such as organophosphates, increased blood pressure.
Organophosphates and many other classes of insecticides and fungicides are commonly used to treat flowers.
In a previous study, researchers reported that children examined sooner after examined in less performance in tasks of attention, self-control, visuospatial processing and sensorimotor.
"These new findings build on a growing number of studies describing that pesticide spray season may affect the children living near agricultural spray sites," said Suarez.
"They highlight the importance of reducing the exposures to insecticides of children and families living near agriculture," he added.