6 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Pesticides

July 8, 2013

2013EWGPesticideGuidesml-1On Monday I blogged about the new pesticide guide by the Environmental Working Group that will help you navigate the world of produce and avoid fruits and veg with high amounts of pesticides. Just in case you have no idea why you should care about pesticides, I’ve decided to expand on the subject and pass along some recent research that links food pesticides to specific health issues.

1. Pesticides can boost the growth of dangerous bacteria in the gut. A study published in the journal of Current Microbiology found that the active ingredient in Roundup, one of the most commonly used pesticides, interferes with health bacteria in the guts of animals possibly leading to stronger and more resistant strains of dangerous disease causing organisms. For example three different strains of salmonella were found resistant to the antibiotics used in chickens’ guts, and it is likely that with continued exposure to the pesticides, more dangerous strains will continue develop. What does that have to do with us, the consumers? Well Roundup is used on almost all corn and soy products and then that same corn and soy is used as feed for animals. When we humans then in turn consume this produce or the meat that lived off of the pesticide laden corn and soy, it can expose us to dangerous viruses and bacteria.

2. You can literally, loose a few brain cells or worse contract Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. In a review published in Critical Reviewers in Toxicology, researchers found that low level exposure to organophosphates, the most widely used pesticides in the world can cause permanent brain damage. This includes permanent effects on memory, information processing and cognitive functioning. Using an overview of research within a twenty year span, researchers concluded that there is a significant correlation between consumption of these kinds of pesticides and brain damage. “Several studies have shown a link between pesticide exposure and the onset of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other neurological conditions such as epilepsy. The main path of exposure is airborne: breathing pesticides. Recently, UCLA researchers looked at Central Valley residents diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and found that “years of exposure to the combination of these two pesticides [the herbicide paraquat and fungicide maneb] increased the risk of Parkinson’s by 75 percent,” (Science Daily).

3. Pesticides endanger a wide range of wild life. Very recently in Oregon 25,000 bees were found dead or dying. The cause of death is being investigated but the widespread use of pesticides is suspected to be related. Runoff from  pesticides get also gets absorbed into soil and can coat the seeds that many birds and small mammals eat. The more we treat nature with pesticides and insecticides, the more we are in danger of loosing or deleteriously affecting species of insects and animals that depend on plant life to thrive. 

4. Pesticides have been linked to cancer. Research has shown that exposure to pesticides  is linked to breast, and prostate cancer as well as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The Agricultural Health Study monitored over 54,000 people who applied pesticides and within fourteen years over 1,900 of them were diagnosed with prostate cancer, of which 919 cases were aggressive. Of the 48 pesticides involved in the data collection, four showed a significant correlation with the aggressive form of prostate cancer. 

5. Not enough thorough research to support safety. With pesticides, there is very little to no preemptive research before widespread use. Which means that we will not know the full effects that the toxins were are being exposed to now will have on us years from now. For example DDT which is now banned in the U.S. was considered okay for widespread use until research proved otherwise. “One recent study found higher levels of miscarriages among women exposed to DDT (in the 1950s), and reproductive disorders associated with DDT are well documented in animal studies[6,7]. Another recent study found developmental delays among babies and toddlers exposed in the womb[8]. Other studies have linked DDT to reduced breast  milk production, premature delivery and reduced infant birthweights[9,10]. DDT is classified by US and international authorities as a probable human carcinogen[11].” Rather than waiting to feel the effects of the latest pesticides, it’s best to take serious measures to reduce the amount that you are exposed to through food.

6. Pesticides are dangerous for kids.  Children are less capable to metabolise, detoxify and excrete chemicals. In addition because of their low body weight and the fact that their bodies are developing, pesticides are doubly harmful for kids than adults. Check out the video below which elaborates more on this point.


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