Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Turfdoctor1, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. Turfdoctor1

    Turfdoctor1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 705

    I hesitate to post this, because it is extremely personal. But, my thoughts are consumed daily about this topic, and I'm looking for a sounding board.

    I have a medium size spray company. We have about 1100 customers. Today, I do very little of the spraying. 4 years ago, I was solo, and did all my own spraying. I am as cautious as I feel like I can be. Proper PPE, yada, yada, yada. But, there is no doubt in my mind that I have had more exposure than I would like. I can live with that. I'm having a hard time living with constant worry that it is affecting others.

    My first son was born 3 1/2 years ago. He has autism, and it has been truly a struggle for our family. I love this little boy more than life, and he is truly a blessing to us. If I have done something that has negatively affected him, though, I am ready to make changes to help others avoid the same.

    There is no known cause for autism. Scientists know that there is a genetic factor, but are also starting to believe that in addition to the genetic factor that there is also an environmental factor.

    From "Prenatal factors that may contribute to autism: Antidepressants during pregnancy. Nutrititional deficiencies early in pregnancy. The age of the mother. Coplications at or shortly after birth. Maternal infections during pregnancy. Exposure to chemical pollutants such as pesticides while pregnant."

    I'm just curious how many of us are dealing with the same thing. Autism is now affecting somewhere between 1 in every 50-100 children, higher in boys than girls. Is that rate dramatically higher for those of us that have had pesticide exposure?

    If you have any interest in this subject, please post. Our family is constantly seeking answers. To many questions in life, there are no answers. I know that our situation probably has no answer. But, I am curious.
  2. dose0018

    dose0018 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    I am currently a special educator (with a masters degree) and worked previously in the lawn industry. I have had concerns about my personal exposure as well.

    You mention the growth in the rate of autism. It is important to realize that a major factor in this growth is growing awareness. More parents, teachers and professionals know what autism looks like so it is diagnosed more commonly. If you son was born 10 or 15 years earlier (hypothetically) he would still have autism but would be much less likely to have been identified or diagnosed

    A few things from my Alma Matter's University Library that I read recently

    de ****, M., Maas, Y. H., & van de Bor, M. (2012). Does perinatal exposure to endocrine disruptors induce autism spectrum and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders? Review. Acta Paediatrica, 101(8), 811-818. doi:10.1111/j.1651-2227.2012.02693.x

    Shelton, J. F., Hertz-Picciotto, I., & Pessah, I. N. (2012). Tipping the Balance of Autism Risk: Potential Mechanisms Linking Pesticides and Autism. Environmental Health Perspectives, 120(7), 944-951. doi:10.1289/ehp.1104553

    They show some association between ADD, ADHD and Autism with any Chemical exposure (including but not limited to pesticides). The studies looked at mercury and other environmental pollutants as well. None show conclusive evidence with any of the above associations. Additionally, when looking at pesticides a major area of concern was prenatal exposure to agricultural pesticides from food.

    Unfortunately, there are no conclusive answers in one way or another:hammerhead:. There have been a number of proposed associations or causes with autism that have been proven false and many others have not been proven but also are difficult to disprove. Personally, I have and continue to feel that personal health risks from long term exposure (cancer or other ailments) are more likely.

    I think it is too easy to try and blame yourself and question why a child has a disability but it is important to remember that there has not been a found cause of autism as you mentioned. Being a motivated supportive father will make a huge difference :)
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012
  3. Yatt

    Yatt LawnSite Member
    Posts: 157

    Prayers to you son.

    I am much more concerned with the chemicals I use in the orchard than the chemicals used on lawncare. I always use a respirator when measuring/mixing powders and a respirator, goggles and tyvek suit when spraying in the orchard.
  4. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    My Prayers as well.

    I seriously doubt that you exposed your wife to pesticides that caused this concern.

    I believe it is a coincidence.

    Having said that, there is always room for being cautious, using safer products and methods.
  5. gunsnroses

    gunsnroses LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 266

    Having kids myself I understand how you must feel. Our society is filled with "possibles". For the fun of it I picked Teflon and autism and googled. Not surprised at all the things that came up. So many chemicals such as teflon are in everything....from carpet to cookware. I have always been wierded out from a pan that eggs dont stick to. These fears lead many people turning "granola". Having 3 granola relatives with cancer in the past 3 years proves to me that their is only so much we can do in this world for prevention. If we never question anything, we will never learn the solution.
  6. Brett Thomas

    Brett Thomas LawnSite Member
    Posts: 83

    Some part of me believes that the amount of children with problems today is the same as it has always been but just in the past few years people know what symptoms to look for. Therefore it appears there are more problems with todays kids but in reality earlier generations didnt have the technology or understanding of things such as autism and other disorders.
  7. Turfdoctor1

    Turfdoctor1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 705

    I thank each of you for your responses, especially you dose. That is great info, and it helps my conscience a lot.

    I tend to agree, or always have anyway, that things just happen and nothing is much different than it always has been. We just diagnose it now.

    I have just been really worried. I just hate to think that my pursuit of happiness could even potentially be hurting those that I love, or the loved ones of my employees, etc.

    I hope that you are all right. I believe that you are. I'm just not as confident as I was before this all came about.
  8. TX Easymoney

    TX Easymoney LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,082

    My best friends wife works with Autistic children here and in the surrounding areas--
    previously, she worked in the San Fran. area-

    She describes the change in rates the same as above--more and more awareness coupled with classifying people who might have being classified with mental ******ation are seems to be more of the culprit to the rise in the rates--

    your not the cause of your child's autism---be a loving, caring parent and work hard with your child-
  9. DiscoDave

    DiscoDave LawnSite Member
    Male, from Midwest
    Posts: 196

    One of my sons also has autism. i have no idea what caused it and why it has become so common. i drove myself crazy trying to figure it out. i had to finally stop looking for the cause and focus all of my efforts on the treatments and simply doing our best to provide a good life for our son and other children. Autism has became a blessing in disguise for our family. Our son having autism has resulted in me being better father and husband. i have learned to embrace my sons abilities and worry less about his so called disability. Our lazer focus on his strengths has given him the resources to develop new skills. i support and appreciate the researchers that are focussing on the cause. i really hope they figure it out soon. for me, i have to spend my time working on the things that make him better. Our son is now moderate to high functioning although his vocabulary is three years behind his age of 6. Send me a message if there is anyway i can help.
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  10. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,466

    Back in the 80's they did a study on lawn care guys who sprayed lawns. They found out that they have premature worn joints in the hips and knees and they said the chemicals could be the cause of it. And to think i thought it was pulling a hose that caused the problem.

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