Hmm… they say they can detect almost a one-tenth point difference between the two groups but is that actually meaningful?
Children in Ecuador who live with flower plantation workers have lower levels of an essential nervous system enzyme than children who live with adults who do not work on flower farms, report researchers for the first time. They attribute the difference to exposure to pesticides that hitchhike home on the plantation workers’ clothing, tools and skin.
In the study, the children who lived the longest with a worker were four times more likely to have lower enzyme activity than children who never lived with a plantation worker. The enzyme – acetycholenesterase (AChE) – is essential to body function and development. AChE is a marker for pesticide exposure and is an early indicator of possible health effects.
This secondary exposure – where children are not directly exposed to the pesticides – was thought to be so small that seeing reduced enzyme activity in the children would not be possible. However, the findings from this study provide some of the first evidence that, in fact, it is possible to measure the differences.