'The next time you want to “say it with flowers,” you may want to think twice. While bouquets are considered a heartfelt symbol of love and affection all around the world, new research revealed that they could be more harmful than they appear. A recent study published in NeuroToxicology found that cut flowers used in bouquets, particularly those grown in Ecuador, are sprayed with dangerous pesticides that can be linked to neurological problems in children, ScienceDaily.com reported.
The study, done by researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, analyzed the neurological behaviors of children who did not work in agriculture but lived in agricultural communities in Ecuador. In particular, researchers administered blood and behavior tests to 308 children between the ages of four to nine. Testing was done before the peak of flower production for Mother’s Day, and 100 days after the harvest. The results of the study showed an association between short-term neurological problems in children and peak pesticide use during the flower harvest.
“Children examined sooner after the flower harvest displayed lower performance on most measures, such as attention, self-control, visuospatial [sic] processing (the ability to perceive and interact with our visual world) and sensorimotor (eye-hand coordination) compared to children examined later in a time of lower flower production and pesticide use,” said the study’s lead author Jose. R. Suarez-Lopez, MD, Ph.D.
Suarez-Lopez pointed out that their study’s findings are particularly worrying especially since peak pesticide season coincided with the children’s year-end exams. The short-term neurological changes may compromise their learning and academic performance, affecting their grades, which in turn may hinder their access to higher education or job opportunities.'
Read more: Common pesticides sprayed on decorative flowers confirmed to cause serious neurological problems in children
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