Health Effects suffered by Pregnant Women and Babies due to Exposure to Fat Soluble Pesticides.

Health is a priority for most of the people today. Being one of the most important basic human needs, human beings and governments have ensured that people are healthy because they are a very important factor of production. We all know the popular saying “health is wealth.” By being healthy, it does not mean that one is free from physical trouble but rather it means that one is experiencing physical mental and social well-being. A healthy person is abenefit to himself as well as astrength to those around him or her. If one is ailing, he or she becomes a burden to people because people have to spend time looking after him or her. Provision of good healthcare should start at infancy to ensure that all the body organs develop properly and that there are no deformities. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “It is health which is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver” (Gandhi, 1998). An unhealthy person is not able to perform any activity and therefore he or she cannot contribute to the economic development of his or her country. This makes the economic growth of the country to be slow because the little that produced is spent to cover for expenses in provision of good health to the citizen.

People should therefore be at a position to identify factors that deprive them good health and put in place measures to stop theseproblems. Environmental hazards such as water, air, and noise pollution are the widely recognized causes of health problems to people. This paper generally will look at the health effects suffered by pregnant women and babies due to exposure to fat-soluble pesticides. This paper also outlines recommendations on how this problem can be dealt with.

Health effects of fat-soluble pesticides to pregnant women

Fat-soluble pesticides are pesticides that contain chlorine at a high percentage. They contain toxins that may be stored in our body fat or in the body of animals, we consume. Use of chlorine in agricultural production has been banned because organochlorines tend to be toxic and bio-accumulative. When chlorine bleaches, it releases off toxic organochlorine such as phosphamidon, dichlorvos, and endosulphan (Sharma, 2001).

One of the effects suffered by pregnant women due to exposure to fat-soluble pesticides is breast cancer. Polychlorinatedbiphenyl (PCBs) has been found to be the main cause of cancer and other related diseases. It is a fat soluble substance which many people are exposed to if they get into contact with pesticides by either inhaling it or ingesting animal fats. When pregnant women inhale PCBs, they stand a chance of suffering from cancer. This is because PBCs are carcinogenic and act as cancer promoters. PBCs release carcinogenic substance that is toxic and act on the genes in the body (Tharappel, Lee, Robertson, Spear, & Glauert, 2002). However, it is very hard to classify the type of cancer that one suffers because PBCs accumulate together with other toxic fat-soluble pesticides hence it is hard to determine whether the cancer that one suffers is brought about by PBCs.A mother’s exposure to pesticides during pregnancy has been found to lead to brain cancer. Brain cancer is an abnormal growth of cells within the central nervous system pesticides cause an abnormal sell growth in the brain of the pregnant mother thus leading to development of brain cancer. According to Barrow Neurological Institute, brain cancer has mainly been found to develop from cancer in the other parts of human body.

Another effect that fat-soluble pesticides have on pregnant mothers is poisoning. Poisoning can occur to a person in different ways.It can occur either through the skin, theeyes, through the mouth or through the air. Pregnant women can be exposed to fat-solublepesticides by either inhaling them or through the skin by contact. Most of the pregnant women when poisoned by the pesticides do not easily realize until the signs show up later. Some of the signs and symptoms that imply poisoning due to exposure to fat-soluble pesticides are unconsciousness, loss of control of the bowels and blaIDer and shaking. People should be at a position to identify these signs and symptoms and take the necessary measures to combat them. Each type of poisoning requires a different type of treatment. Poisoning through the skin can be treated by quickly removing the clothes the pesticide spilled on and washing the pesticides off with soap and water. Poisoning through the mouth can be treated by giving the poisoned person plenty of water and helping the person to breath by mouth-to-mouth breathing (Conant, .n.d).

Fat-soluble pesticides also have a great effect on awoman’s nervous system if affected. Exposure to fat-soluble pesticides is associated with abnormalities in nerve and deficits in neurobehavioral performance. A high exposure to these pesticides will lead to a very high deficit of neurobehavioral performance. Neurotoxicity will result because of high level of exposure to fat-solublepesticides such as organochlorines and organophosphates (Keifer & Mahurin, 1996). The immediate symptoms that are expressed by the body of a pregnant woman when the fat-soluble pesticides affect the nervous system are dizziness, vomiting, headache, and severe sweeting. When the effects are severe, the person experiences symptoms such as change in pulse rate, weakness of muscles and muscle twitches.

A couple of weeks after exposure to the pesticides, some women may develop organophosphate-induced delayed polyneuropathy (OPIDP).This syndrome involves muscle cramps, sensoryabnormalities, and paralysis especially of the legs. These symptoms are because of deficiency of a neural enzyme known as neuropathy target esterase. According to Ohayo-Mitoko, Kromhout, Simwa, Boleij& Heederik, (2000) increased exposure to the pesticides can lead to decrease in vibration sensitivity, deficits in cognitive and psychomotor function and impaired nerve conduction. However, though there occurs symptoms that indicate neurotoxicity, some symptoms do not show up immediately. Some show up even after ten years. This implies that the enduring damage on the nervous system by the fat-soluble pesticides is permanent. Mild poisoning can also have effects on the nervous system since the damage is permanent. (Steenland, Jenkins, Ames, O’Malley, Chrislip, & Russo, 1994).

Effects of fat-soluble pesticides on infants.

Fat-soluble pesticides also affect babies. This occurs either directly or indirectly. When the baby inhales the fat-soluble pesticides then this is a direct occurrence. When the effect is due to other factors such as through breast-feeding from the mother, then this becomes an indirect occurrence. Unlikeadults, infants are more vulnerable to suffer from the effects of exposure to fat-soluble pesticides due to the following reasons. First, infants’ metabolic pathways are not as developed as those of adults are. They are unableto convertchemicals such as organophosphates into their active form and hence are more vulnerable to suffer from their effects. Second, infants and children are growing and their development process is delicate hence can easily be disrupted. This is because their immune system is immature. Third, infants have more lifespan than adults haveand therefore have more time in which they can develop chronic diseases that can be initiated by early exposures (Landrigan, Claudio, Markowitz, Berkowitz, Brenner, Romero, & Wolff, 1999).

One of the effects that infants suffer due to exposure to fat-soluble pesticides is poor development of the body parts. Infant’s endocrine system is affected by exposure to pesticides. The endocrine system produces hormones that are responsible for the proper growth of the nervous system. When infants are exposed to fat-soluble pesticides, they may inhale or swallow the chemicals. These chemicals interrupt and alter the hormones that are responsible for sexual growth and neurodevelopment. Alterations in the neurodevelopment process of an infant may result in abnormal behavior, sensory dysfunction and cognitive disabilities (Tilson, 1998). Exposure of infants to organochlorine pesticides affects the process of the infants’ psychomotor development. AIDitionally, the verbal, and memory performance of the infant is altered by their exposure to these chemicals (Jurewicz& Hanke, 2008). Infants from areas with high agricultural output are most likely to suffer from these effects because they occasionally are exposed to pesticides, which are used to spray the crops.

Another effect that pesticides have on infants is the damage of the immune system. When infants and adults are exposed to fat soluble pesticides such as the PBCs, they suffer a high risk of contracting other infections because their immune is altered by the PBCs. PBCs suppress both the antibodies and the cellular cells that are responsible for the immunity of a person’s body. Poor immune system in an infant’s body will lead to contraction of other infections that will affect the proper growth of the infant. Mothers can also contribute to poor immune system in an infant. This is because of the foods that mothers give to their children.

Some foods such as fish contain PBCs and organochrolide that affect the immune system of an infant. AIDitionally, mothers may be feeding or drinking water that contains fat-soluble pesticides. This will alter the immune system of the infant because the mothers will breastfeed their child with milk that is highly contaminated with fat-soluble pesticides. A study conducted by Lü & Wu showed that people who were exposed to substances that have a high concentration of PBCs suffered other kinds of infections. In their study in Taiwan, they found out that people who fed on PBC-contaminated rice oil stood a high chance of suffering from other adverse effects because of their poor immune system (Lü & Wu, 1985). Foods that are fed to infants should not contain fat-soluble pesticides because they will alter with the immune system of the infant. This can lead to retarded growth and death among the infants.Mothers should also feed on food that has no fat-soluble pesticides because if they do so, they will be putting themselves and their infants at a risk because by breastfeeding their infants, they transmit to them the fat-soluble pesticidesthat are harmful

Birthdefects are another effect on children due to exposure to pesticides. This is an indirect effect because the mother bearing the unborn baby can expose the baby to pesticides. Expectant mothers should be mindful of the activities that they engage in because some of the activities will end up exposing the unborn child to pesticides.Expectant mothers should avoid agricultural activities because they will facilitate the birth of an infant with defects. Some of the defects that the infant may possess are heart defects, oral clefts and limb defects (Shaw, Wasserman, O’Malley, Nelson, & Jackson, 1999). Household exposure can also expose expectant mothers to pesticides. Pets in houses contain fleas that are treated using pesticides.This exposes expectant mothers to pesticides despite them remaining indoors.

Infants also stand a chance of suffering from respiratory diseases due to their exposure to fat-solublepesticides. These diseases include chronic cough and chronic bronchitis. A study conducted by Milton shown that ingestion of arsenic acid that is contained in pesticides leads to inflammation of the respiratory tract(Milton, Hasan, Rahman & Rahman, 2003). This implies that if infants are exposed to pesticides, then they suffer the risk of suffering from respiratory diseases. AIDitionally, infants can also suffer from irritation of the skin. Pesticides contain chemicals that can cause infants often scratch their skins due to irritation. This causes infant to develop rashes on the skins. These rashes may destroy the color and appearance of the skin. Moreover, exposure to arsenic acid contained in pesticides can cause development of skin cancer in both adults and infants. Skin cancer is evidenced by changes in the skin that do notheal, discolored skin and ulcers on the skin.


Due to increased cases of effects of pesticides on the health of people, solutions have been put in place to aIDress these effects. One of the solutions that can be incorporated is buying of locally and organically produced fruits and vegetables. These fruits and vegetables have a high assurance of being pesticides free hence do not pose any harm to the health of the person who buys them.Another solution is washing of fruits and vegetables before eating them.There are commercial fruit washes that are available and are formulated to remove chemical residual from agricultural products.A person can also choose to use non-toxic methods of controlling pest in farms.One of the method that can be used is diatomaceous earth. This method kills a wide range of pests and insects without posing any hazard to the person and to those around.

Legislations can also be introduced to prevent the use of pesticides that are harmful both to the environment and to human beings.For example in Stockholm, Sweden, a treaty was signed to prevent the use of persistent organic pollutants thatare highly harmful (POPs).POPs are toxic chemicals that are toxic and kill biological microorganisms in the environment. This was the first global treaty that sought to ban the entire category of toxic chemicals because of their health effects to human health and to the environment (Yoder, 2003). Finally, awareness should be created to inform people on the effects of fat-solublepesticides. Government and organizations that aim at environmental sustainance can do this.People should also be taught how to dispose of tins that contain pesticides. They can be buried deep in the ground to ensure that they are not into contact with human beings.


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