JMPR Statement on Sensitivity Of Infants And Children To Pesticides

The Codex Committee on Pesticide Residues (CCPR) at its Thirty-first Session asked JMPR to consider possible toxicological concerns unique to infants and young children because of their physiological and developmental characteristics. In considering this issue, the Meeting recognized that children and infants may differ from adults in their susceptibility to the effects of xenobiotics. For any particular compound, the difference might be qualitative (i.e. result in different types of toxicity) and/or quantitative (i.e. different dose-response relationships for the same effect), or there may be no difference at all. As it cannot be predicted which of these possibilities pertains to a particular compound, an increased susceptibility of children and infants to toxicants cannot consistently be implied. The Meeting emphasized that possible differences between adult and developing mammals is currently addressed in the commonly performed studies of reproductive and developmental toxicity in various animal species. In addition, useful information might be obtained by a comparison of data from cases of poisoning in infants and children and in adults as collected, for instance, by poison control centres. The Meeting was also aware that the US Environmental Protection Agency has asked that certain active ingredients be tested for developmental neurotoxicity and neurotoxicity in adult animals. The results of these studies will be compared with one another. The Meeting agreed that it would be useful to compare the critical NOAELs identified during this exercise with those identified from conventional data packages. The Meeting concluded that it currently has no basis for changing its approach to addressing the susceptibility of developing mammals as compared to that of adult organisms in the toxicological evaluation of pesticides. The routine use of safety factors in addition to those currently used is not justified on the basis of current information.
As in all areas of biology relevant to risk assessment, JMPR will continue to take into account new information on differences in susceptibility between adults and developing mammals that have implications for the evaluation of active ingredients.