‘Pesticides’ is a general name for toxic substances used to destroy weeds (also specifically called ‘herbicides’), insects (also specifically called ‘insecticides’), fungus (also specifically called ‘fungicides’) and rodents (also specifically called ‘rodenticides’).
Pesticides are used virtually everywhere: from agricultural plots and dwellings to all kinds of public places.
While pesticides’ main function is to control damage of plants caused by pests and pestilence, and thus increase food production worldwide, they also pose significant long-term risks to our health.
A research, brought out in the Canadian Family Physician in 2007, reports a trustworthy link between pesticide exposure and breast, brain, kidney, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, and stomach neoplasms (cancers).
Another study of 2007 published in the same journal, links pesticide exposure to these chronic health effects: dermatologic, neurologic, reproductive and genotoxic. Furthermore, “long exposure to pesticides may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease,” states a 2006 study published in the Annals of Neurology. Also, a 2013 report by the European Food Safety Authority, clearly notes that “exposure to pesticides can lead to leukemia in children and Parkinson’s disease.”
So, anyone who is around when pesticides are sprayed over plants, insects and so on, is at a higher risk of this dangerous exposure.
A 2015 report by the Environmental Working Group states that “nearly 2/3 of the 3,015 produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2013 contained pesticides.” According to this account, the foods highest in pesticide levels were: nectarines, strawberries, apples, peaches, grapes, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, celery, spinach, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, and potatoes.
On the other hand, among the foods containing the least amount of pesticides were listed: sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, kiwis, eggplant, grapefruits, cantaloupes, cauliflower, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, and yams.
Given the negative health effects of pesticide contact, it is important to take steps towards avoiding pesticide exposure. With just a little effort, you can change things for your personal health as well as for the environment!