Natural Pure Organics

No Entry - PesticidesPesticides and Your Health

Summer is around the corner and for many people that equals more time outdoors. You may spend time planting a flower garden, hiking the mountains, camping by a lake, playing on a sports team, or weeding your vegetable garden. Whatever the case may be, insects or other pests are likely to pose a threat to your enjoyment.

Did you know that pesticide exposure has been linked to health problems including asthma1, cancer2,3,4, Parkinson's disease5, gestational diabetes6, birth defects7,8,9, and Autism10? Studies have also shown links between pesticide exposure and less obvious health conditions11 such as memory problems, skin ailments, respiratory problems12, depression, miscarriages, and neurological deficits.

Crop Duster Spraying FieldTotal pesticide use in the United States has remained relatively constant at about 1 billion pounds per year. Pesticides are applied to conventional crops in such large volumes that airplanes are used to apply them to large areas of crop land. As many as 14 different chemical pesticides have been detected on a single piece of produce. Due to the development of resistances, new pesticides are constantly being developed.

Five of the top nine pesticides used on cotton in the U.S. are known carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals). All nine are classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as Category I and II, which are the most dangerous. During the conversion of conventional cotton into clothing, numerous toxic chemicals are added at each stage. These chemicals commonly include silicone waxes, petroleum by-products, chemical softeners, heavy metals, flame retardants, ammonia, and formaldehyde.

Many dangerous chemicals in pesticides are allowed to be sold because no studies are required to prove that small amounts of exposure over time are safe or that mixtures of more than one chemical are safe. Only studies of single chemicals at high doses are studied for toxic effects.

The nervous and endocrine systems of children as well as the unborn fetus are the most vulnerable to the toxic effects of pesticides. The metabolism, biochemistry, and physiology during that time of life are different than that of an adult. During key periods of brain development, exposure in-utero or throughout early childhood can lead to irreparable damage.

Our recommendations to reduce your exposure to pesticides include:

  • Buy locally-grown, organic food when possible13.
  • Use Buzz Free Zone spray as a safe and effective replacement for toxic, synthetic insect repellents. Not only is it safe to leave on the skin once returning indoors (unlike others that you need to wash off immediately), and safe to apply to "broken skin", it actually encourages healing of skin irritations.
  • Consider switching to organic cotton clothing and bedding.

1. Hoppin J, Umbach D, London S, et. al. Pesticides and atopic and nonatopic asthma among farm women in the agricultural health study. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2008;177:11-18.
2. Leiss J, and Savitz D. Home pesticide use and childhood cancer: a case-control study. Am J Pub Health 1995;85(2):249-252.
3. Bassil K, Vakil C, et. al. Cancer health effects of pesticides, systematic review. Can Fam Physician 2007 October;53(10):17041711.
4. Teitelbaum S, Gammon M, et. al. Reported residential pesticide use and breast cancer risk on Long Island, New York. Am J Epidemiol 2007;165(6):643-651.
5. Hancock D, Martin E, Mayhew G, et. al. Pesticide exposure and risk of Parkinson's disease: A family-based case-control study. BMC Neurology 2008;8:6.
6. Saldana T, Basso O, Hoppin J, et. al. Pesticide exposure and self-reported gestational diabetes mellitus in the agricultural health study. Diabetes Care 2007 March;30:529-534.
7. Hanify J, Metcalf P, Nobbs CL, et. al. Aerial spraying of 2,4,5-T and human birth malformations: an epidemiological investigation. Science 1981;212:349351.
8. Kristensen P, Irgens L, Andersen A, et. al. Birth defects among offspring of Norwegian farmers, 19671991. Epidemiology 1997;8:537544.
9. Schardein JL. 1993. Chemically Induced Birth Defects. 2nd ed.New York:Marcel Dekker, Inc.
10. Roberts E, English P, Grether J, et. al. Maternal residence near agricultural pesticide applications and Autism Spectrum Disorders amoung children in the California central valley. Environ Health Perspect 2007 October;115(10):1482-1489.
11. Sanborn M, Kerr K, et. al. Non-cancer health effects of pesticides, systematic review and implications for family doctors. Can Fam Physician 2007 October;53:1712-17720.
12. Fryer A, Lein P, Howard A, et. al. Mechanisms of organophosphate insecticide-induced airway hyperreactivity. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 2004;286:L963-L969.
13. Curl C, Fenske R, Elgethun K. Organophosphate pesticide exposure of urban and suburban preschool children with organic and conventional diets. Environ Health Perspect 2003 March;111(3):377-382.

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