Are Pesticides Worth The Risk?

by Heather Morin on February 18, 2014

If you inspected the crop field from which you receive your food from or your own backyard, it is very likely you will find a pesticide present. In America pesticides are found almost everywhere and not having some form of contact with them is almost unavoidable.

                           Image from Rawforbeauty.com

                                       Image from Rawforbeauty.com.

Pesticides are very useful for exactly what they are made for, killing pests that are an annoyance to people in someway, however, when these toxic substances are being used literally everywhere and on everything they find their way into the bodies of the people exposed to them.  People know that toxic means that something is dangerous to your health and even though we know these toxic substances are unsafe they are still being used.

The effects of pesticides on adults can range from a simple headache all the way to cancer.  Low amounts of exposure will only cause short-term side effects that do not seem to matter much but the real problem is the build up of carcinogens over a long period from these toxins.  Once these carcinogens from pesticides enter your body they are there to stay and they contribute to the development of cancer.  An Agricultural Health Study done by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the Environmental Protection Agency on farmers who are constantly in direct contact with pesticides due to their profession were found to have higher than normal rates of certain cancers including leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and soft tissue sarcoma, as well as cancers of the skin, lip, stomach, brain, and prostate.  Also it needs to be kept in mind that farmers tend to live much healthier lives due to the amount of physical labor their work requires and their healthier eating habits.  When it is seen that relatively healthy farmers are most likely to develop cancers related directly to carcinogens that are found in pesticides, pesticides are undeniably a contributing factor.   This should raise a lot of concern to consumers because the carcinogens that are giving farmers cancer are the carcinogens that these farmers are putting on our food products.

So what can be done to limit your exposure to pesticides?  There are ways to protect yourself and even though you can’t control the rest of the world at least you can control what is going on in your own home and what is going into your body.  The first thing that should be done is to pay attention to what you are eating.  There is a reason people are always told to wash their fruits and vegetables when getting home from the grocery store because there are still traces of pesticides left on your food from wherever they came from.  However, it important to remember that washing will not get rid of every trace left on your food so they safest option is to buy organically grown foods that are free of pesticides.  Organic foods are grown without any modified means or pesticides so you are safe from toxic dangers and are getting the freshest and most natural food products possible.

The second step is to know what products are being used inside your home and in your lawn or garden.  Check labels for the active ingredients of all pesticides you use and if you have a lawn or garden caretaker check with them to find out the safety of the products they use.  You can visit the National Pesticide Information Center’s website to find out information on all possible ingredients in your pesticides and to find the potential risk of each ingredient and how dangerous they are. (http://npic.orst.edu/ingred/index.html)  If at all possible use only all natural products in pest management to completely eliminate the risks of toxins being present.  They are completely safe and can be just as effective.

All in all do anything to reduce your risk of pesticides entering your body even if it is just a small change because with a lesser build up toxins in your system, the healthier life you live.

 

References:

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/ahs

http://www.toxicsaction.org/problems-and-solutions/pesticides

http://athome.audubon.org/eliminate-or-reduce-pesticide-use

 

Image:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-hY-p2gZnUIs/UQfnyIyuuFI/AAAAAAAAAds/EgcpJR648K4/s1600/pesticide.png

 


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