For more information, see the topics
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and
Exposure to pesticides may come from
residual agricultural pesticides in foods; from household or workplace
products used to control rodents, insects, and termites; and from disinfectants
and fungicides. The most likely ways you are exposed are small quantities of
pesticides in the foods you eat and by direct contact with surfaces (such as
plants, soils, or structures) where pesticides have been used.
not used properly, both workplace and household pesticides can be dangerous.
Exposure to high levels of some pesticides can cause headaches, dizziness,
muscle twitching, nausea, weakness, and tingling sensations. Some experts
believe that some pesticides may cause cancer or damage to the liver and
central nervous system.7, 8 Pesticide exposure during
pregnancy has been associated with
miscarriage, fetal death, and early childhood cancers
acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Indoor use of
pesticides increases children's risk of brain tumors, ALL, and birth defects.
Children can be poisoned by stored pesticides, so these should always be kept
out of reach. For agricultural workers, exposure to pesticides has been
linked with an increased risk of
tips for reducing pesticide exposure in your home, such as reducing your use
of lawn and garden pesticides and limiting your exposure to moth
For most people, the level of
mercury absorbed by eating fish and shellfish is not a health concern. But in a
fetus or young child, this can damage the brain and
nerves (nervous system). Because of the mercury found in fish,
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) advise women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers,
and young children to avoid eating fish high in mercury and to eat limited
amounts of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.10 For more information, see the topic
Avoiding Mercury in Fish.
Chemicals from plastics and other
Some people are concerned about
bisphenol A (BPA). This is a chemical found in some types of plastic (polycarbonate)
bottles. A study has shown that people with high levels of BPA in their urine have a greater risk for heart disease.11 And a group of experts concluded that bisphenol A may have some effect on
the behavior, brain, and prostate gland of a developing baby (fetus) or young child.12 If
you are concerned about BPA, don't use bottles marked with the number 7 or the
letters "PC" near the recycle symbol. You can use glass or BPA-free plastic
bottles instead. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has information about BPA for parents at http://www.hhs.gov/safety/bpa.