WHAT ARE BIRTH DEFECTS? Birth defects are also called congenital disorders and may be the result of genetic abnormalities or other causes. For this study, scientists considered the effect of pesticides on each of 11 specific defects, including spina bifida; circulatory, tracheal, gastrointestinal, urogenital and musculoskeletal anomalies; cleft lip; adactyly (missing hands, fingers, toes and the like); clubfoot; and Down syndrome.
WHERE THAT GLASS OF WATER COMES FROM: Drinking water can come from either ground water sources, via wells, or surface water sources, such as rivers, lakes and streams. Most U.S. water systems in small and rural areas use a ground water source, while large metropolitan areas tend to rely on surface water. Causes of contamination can range from agricultural runoff to improper use of household chemicals.
WHAT IS HAZARDOUS WASTE? In the U.S., hazardous waste is defined as any discarded solid or liquid that is corrosive, toxic, or reactive enough to release toxic fumes, or easily ignite. It can include solvents, pesticides, and spilled chemicals -- including acids, ammonia, chlorine bleach and other industrial cleaning agents -- as well as most heavy metals. Long-term exposure to hazardous waste can lead to chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma, damaged liver and kidneys, or cancer. Poisoning and chemical burns can result from contact with even small amounts of toxic chemical waste. Even brief exposure can cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Even non-hazardous, organic human waste that is not properly managed can be a serious health hazard, since it ferments and creates a good environment to let bacteria and other germs grow. The waste also attracts flies, rats, and other creatures that become infected and can spread infectious diseases, including malaria and plague.
This report has been produced thanks to a generous grant from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.