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Category: Environmental Toxin Testing
Children's increased vulnerability to pesticides may extend longer than previously believed, until they are as old as 7, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
It has long been known that newborns are more susceptible to some pesticides and environmental toxins than adults. One of the measures of this vulnerability are the levels of paroxonase 1 (PON1), an enzyme that detoxifies organophosphate pesticides and may also protect against oxidative stress.
PON1 activity levels in newborns average one-third that of adults. It had been expected that the levels approached adult values at the age of 2, but the researchers found low levels in some individuals through age 7.
"The children in our study whose genotypes are related to lower PON1 activity may not only be more susceptible to pesticides throughout much of their childhood, they may also be more vulnerable to other common diseases related to oxidative stress," said lead author Karen Huen, a UC Berkeley Ph.D. student in environmental health sciences.
Oxidative stress is one effect of environmental toxins, and is linked to diseases such as asthma, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
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