by Lisa Garber
When asked by a skeptical friend why you buy organic, do you find yourself tongue-tied? Was it obesity? Or thyroid problems? Why should you buy organic? There are numerous reasons to skip the mainstream supermarket food and shop at an organic grocer, but just one of those reasons revolves around the effects of pesticides.
Unfortunately, pesticides attack your body on several fronts. Keep this list handy the next time you find yourself wondering if you should buy a carton of conventional strawberries rather than organic to potentially save a few pennies. Remember that all of the following conditions will cost you much more than money; the effects of pesticides will cost you your health.
Here are 7 nasty and crazy effects of pesticides.
Effects of Pesticides – Cancer
The dreaded diagnosis of cancer has been linked in over 260 studies worldwide to agrochemicals. Worse, scientists have linked pesticides with several types of cancers, including that of the breast, prostate, brain, bone, thyroid, colon, liver, lung, and more. Some researchers from USC found that “those who lived within 500 meters of places where methyl bromide, captan and eight other organochlorine pesticides had been applied, they found, were more likely to have developed prostate cancer.”
But even indirect exposure, such as through parental use, has been found to affect children in a terrible way. A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives has linked parental use of pesticides with an increased risk of brain cancer in children. “Parental exposures may act before the child’s conception, during gestation, or after birth to increase the risk of cancer,” the study said. And when the parents are exposed to the pesticides may also play a role in the different cellular changes that lead to cancer.
Obesity and Diabetes
Because pesticides have also been linked to obesity, it’s logical that it would be connected to diabetes, in which obesity often has a role. Some researchers found a higher prevalence of obesity in the participants with high urinary concentrations of a pesticide known as 2,5-dichlorophenol (2,5-DCP). It is important to note that 2,5-DCP is one of the most widely used pesticides on the globe.
Robert Sargis, MD, PhD, revealed his recent study findings at the Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting, stating that agricultural fungicide created insulin resistance in fat cells. The journal Diabetes Carepublished in 2011 that people with excess weight and high levels of organochlorine pesticides in their bodies had greater risk of becoming diabetic.
Long-term exposure to herbicides and pesticides have been associated in over 60 studies with Parkinson’s. You don’t have to be a conventional farmer to be wary of these findings. Use natural methods to keep pests and weeds out of your home and garden today.
Infertility and Birth Defects
One of the most well-known negative effects of pesticides, infertility is continuously found to be a result of exposure to these agrochemicals. Atrazine—a weed killer used in agriculture as well as on golf courses and which has been found in tap water—may be partially responsible for climbing miscarriage and infertility rates. As for men, one 2006 study pinpointed chlorpyrifos with lowering testosterone levels. This pesticide is often found in strawberry fields and apple and peach orchards.
Other researchers tested roundup on mature male rats at a concentration range between 1 and 10,000 parts per million (ppm), and found that within 1 to 48 hours of exposure, testicular cells of the mature rats were either damaged or killed.
Avoid pesticides even if you’re already pregnant. These chemicals are responsible for causing various birth defects, too. A report revealed that the top selling herbicide Roundup disrupts male hormones due to the main active ingredient – glyphosate.
Admittedly, pesticides aren’t solely to blame for autism, but they may be a hefty part of the equation. Leading scientists are attributing the condition to genes and insecticides exposed to the mother while pregnant as well as to the child in early years. This is because many chemicals affect the neurology of bugs, inadvertently affecting the neurological function of children, too. A 2010 Harvard study blames organophosphate pesticides—found in children’s urine—to ADHD.
What is the best way to to avoid pesticide exposure and pesticides in food? Don’t use pesticides, and buy organic. Organic isn’t always easy or cheap, so keep in mind these updated dirty dozen fruits and vegetables to always buy organic (plus 15 cleaner foods you can afford to buy conventional). NASA has also suggested raising air purifying plants indoors to clear your home of indoor air pollution. Remember to remove pesticides from your home, too.