The Problem With Pesticides

Food intake is one of our body’s basic needs. Regular nourishment with all the necessary vitamins and minerals is imperative for a healthy diet. However, with all of the processes our food is exposed to before it reaches our table, a lot of health concerns have been raised. One of which is the intake of pesticides which are being used to protect crops.

PesticidePesticide exposure can cause a range of neurological health effects such as memory loss, loss of coordination, reduced speed of response to stimuli, reduced visual ability, altered or uncontrollable mood and general behavior, and reduced motor skills. These symptoms are often very subtle and may not be recognized by the medical community as a clinical effect. Other possible health effects include asthma, allergies, and hypersensitivity, and pesticide exposure is also linked with cancer, hormone disruption, and problems with reproduction and fetal development.

Pesticide formulations contain both “active” and “inert” ingredients. Active ingredients are what kill the pest, and inert ingredients help the active ingredients to work more effectively. These “inert” ingredients may not be tested as thoroughly as active ingredients and are seldom disclosed on product labels. Solvents, which are inert ingredients in many pesticide formulations, may be toxic if inhaled or absorbed by the skin.

Children are at greater risk from exposure to pesticides because of their small size: relative to their size, children eat, drink, and breathe more than adults. Their bodies and organs are growing rapidly, which also makes them more susceptible; in fact, children may be exposed to pesticides even while in the womb.

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How to Avoid Pesticides in Your Diet

Pesticides in FoodPesticide use is a world-wide problem adversely affecting environmental health as well as human health. This Earth Day, take a step toward a healthier planet and a healthier you by limiting pesticides in your diet.

Pesticides are used by farmers to kill “unwanted organisms” on plants. Unfortunately, they also kill many necessary microorganisms in the soil, gradually degrading the soil and depleting it of nutrients it needs to produce healthy plants. Pesticides also create toxic runoff as they leach into groundwater and streams, affecting animal life as well as human drinking water. Pesticides have been linked to a variety of concerns in humans including nervous system disorders, carcinogenic (cancer causing) effects, hormone system problems, and skin, eye and lung irritation. Children are especially sensitive to pesticide exposure. When you buy organic products, you not only ensure that the food you eat and feed your family is free of harmful chemicals, you also support those farmers who are working hard to grow food in an environmentally conscious way. Down to Earth has a huge selection of organic produce, convenience foods, and body care products to fit your needs.

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How to Avoid Pesticides in the Home

Pesticide and KidsWhen talking about limiting kids’ contact with pesticides, I’ve been accused of sounding like a broken record. But the reason behind my rant is so important: Pesticide exposure has been linked to asthma, allergies, autism and even cancer—rates of which have risen about 30% in 30 years and now kill more kids than asthma, diabetes, AIDS, cystic fibrosis and birth defects combined.

Many people don’t know that most of our children’s pesticide exposure comes from the foods that they eat—but just one day of eating differently can remove most pesticides from their bodies completely.

And many more don’t realize that household exposure to pesticides—from pest eradication products and food—is now shown to have the same negative effects on pregnancy as cigarette smoking: lower birth weight and earlier labor.

Unfortunately, just as doctors 50 years ago didn’t fault pregnant moms for smoking, today they don’t spend a lot of time talking with patients about pesticide exposure. I hope that as we all become more aware of the stakes, that too will change.

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Dr. Kevin Light

Dr. Kevin Light

Dr. Kevin Light, a board certified general surgeon, cosmetic surgeon and medical director of the Dallas Healthy Aging Institute... Read More...
Dr. Kevin Light

Dr. Kevin Light

Dr. Kevin Light

Dr. Kevin Light

Dr. Kevin Light

Dr. Kevin Light

Dr. Kevin Light

Dr. Kevin Light

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