There has been a lot of research coming out lately about pesticides. It seems like more and more people are becoming aware of the effects of these killing chemicals on us, not just the bugs they target. The information is fascinating. I thought I might put it all together as a general resource and provide some avenues for you to improve your life by reducing your exposure. After all, some of these new studies link pesticides to ADHD, others link them to Parkinsons Disease and yet others point to food and water contamination. It seems like it must be pretty wide spread considering that we grow a lot of food that bugs also eat. When we spray those plants with insecticide, we submit the chemical to the plants organism and this remains present in the plant after death, after cooking, after eating and swallowing. So you must have a lot of pesticides in you. That’s just the facts.
In fact, more than 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides are used in the US and many different studies are showing that they are present in the human body, MANY human bodies. One pesticide, chlorpyrifos (CPF), was found in 82% of urine samples from a broad range of Americans aged twenty to fifty-nine. And this is not restricted to the homeland. In a Canadian study, the herbicide 2, 4-D, was found in 50% of men, and this in their semen. Do you realize that semen carries the genetic material of a possible fetus or child? How does that affect the developing brains and bodies of those babies and.. what kind of child will it produce? Another child with ADHD or, more significantly, with damaged genetic code that will doom it to a life of serious illness? This is scary stuff.
There are 900 pesticides and herbicides registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. Research into the long-term effects of pesticides has hardly been done. But here are some facts from that research that has been done:
Children who are exposed to organophosphates may have an increased risk of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a study published in the journal, Pediatrics. These widely-used insect killers work by disrupting the brain and nervous system and are known to be toxic to humans. This compound is present in 37 of the 900 different pesticides that are out there. The objective of the study was to examine the association between urinary concentrations of dialkyl phosphate metabolites of organophosphates and ADHD in children 8 to 15 years-old.
There are many unusual instances of Parkinsons’ Disease, among those who are young, female and do not have genetic history. Among these patients, there has developed a movement exploring a possible connection between exposure to environmental toxins, in particular, the organophosphate pesticides and Parkinson’s disease. But a link between environmental neurotoxins and Parkinson’s is difficult to prove. Population studies can detect associations between certain suspected agents and diseases such as cancer, but it’s hard to draw conclusions about what causes a disease from studies that can register only correlations. In the case of Parkinson’s and the environment, however, there has been a steadily mounting consensus about such a connection and serious investigators have found that there was “limited suggestive evidence of an association” between pesticides and Parkinson’s, and between farming or agricultural work and Parkinson’s.
This is complemented by the publication of “Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging”, a report co-authored by the Science and Environmental Health Network, (SEHN). This report included a summary of 31 population studies that have looked at the possible connection between pesticide exposure and Parkinson’s. As many as 24 of these studies, according to the report, found a positive association, and in 12 cases the association was statistically significant. In some studies, the group found, there was as much as a sevenfold greater risk of Parkinson’s in people exposed to pesticides.
And in addition to this, in April 2009, scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), published a provocative study connecting the disease not only to occupational pesticide exposure but also to living in homes or going to schools that were close to a pesticide-treated field.
Overall, there is a lot to think about when it comes to pesticides. They are no doubt in our food and in our water. I can give you a list of foods to avoid but there is nothing we can do about the water. That is the really scary thing. You can buy pesticide free foods but if you boil them in pesticide laden water, it recreates the same situation. If you drink pesticide laden water along with your organic meal, the same threat remains. And the presence of pesticides in the water is a given. Consider this. More than 12,000 wells that provide water to 100 million people have been found to have arsenic or lead concentrations above the health based limits established by the U.S.EPA. Arsenic has been used on crops in the U.S. since 1867 and lead-arsenic since 1890. Arsenic is still widely used today on turf crops, corn, soy, and cotton as an herbicide or defoliant. Now, would you swallow a spoonful of arsenic willingly? Of course not. This is flat out a violation of your sovereignty as an individual and an abuse of your civilian rights. They are force feeding us arsenic.
Although we don’t have any idea how much was used, we do know that nearly 30 million people in the U.S. are drinking water contaminated with Atrazine, Simazine, Telone II, 2,4-D, or 2,4,5-T. All of these chemicals are related to DDT and were first sold in the 1940s, after they were developed in World War II. Simazine and 2,4,5-T had their EPA registrations cancelled more than twenty years ago because they were so deadly; yet millions of people in the U.S. still drink water contaminated with these two terrible war toys. They just can’t be removed from the water. There are no chemicals that will destroy these chemicals, they aren’t destroyed by heat or ice. All these DDT relatives caused cancer and multiple birth defects in tests on laboratory animals. They continue today to greatly damage bird populations in farm country. So what on earth are they doing to you and yours?
Let me add one more boot to the ass kicking I’m giving you. Two of these war materials, 2,4-D, and 2,4,5-T along with Dioxin were the poisons in Agent Orange, the defoliant that killed and crippled so many Vietnamese and American soldiers and turned jungle into denuded ghost lands. And with all of this information, the EPA and FDA and every other fatbutt bureaucratic cesspool thinks is just peachy keen to serve this stuff up to you in every last glass you drink. How do you like that? I’m sure you love it.
Ok, enough sarcasm. Enough pushing your buttons and making you angry. You can’t change the EPA overnight (although lots of letters might get their attention) and you can’t get business to give a damn about you, but you can take charge of this mess in effective ways. First of all, above all else, start buying organic food. Buy locally so that you know where the food is grown and you can visit the farm to be sure they aren’t jiving you. The label “organic” nationally means nothing. There are no real guidelines for the label “organic”, thanks again to our FDA. But many small health food stores and buying co ops investigate their sources to be sure they are authentic because the owners, the employees and their families all eat the same stuff. You cannot trust big corporations. You cannot trust them to look out for you. You can trust them to use the cheapest stuff they can in order to cut corners and make lots of money for their stockholders. If you are a customer and not a stockholder you can be sure you are not on the list.
If you can’t afford to buy organic or can’t find a trusted local source, then consider this. Some foods are more highly dosed than others. It is complicated why this is so, a litany of reasons from how the plant grows, where it grows and who it’s natural enemies are all the way down to how the company that grows it operates. Some plants are just dosed as a matter of course and not based on any real need. Other plants do not have many insect feeders so they just don’t require the trouble and expense. Here is a list of those foods:
Lowest Pesticide Exposure (25% pesticide load or less): Watermelon, Blueberries, Papaya, Eggplant, Broccoli, Cabbage, Bananas, Kiwi, Asparagus, Sweet Peas-Frozen, Mango, Pineapples, Sweet Corn-Frozen, Avocado, Onions.
On this list, Onions have the lowest exposure and Watermelon has the highest (25%). They scale down from Watermelon to Onions. Unless noted as frozen, these are fresh fruits and vegetables and you should buy them fresh. Where noted as frozen, buy frozen. And never buy fruit or vegetables in cans. Not only because of pesticides but because of BPA.
Here are the uglies, the ones to avoid: (50% pesticide load or greater): Peaches, Apples, Sweet Bell Peppers, Celery, Nectarines, Strawberries, Cherries, Lettuce, Grapes – Imported, Pears, Spinach, Potatoes, Carrots, Green Beans, Hot Peppers, Cucumbers.
Again, I listed these starting with the worst. Peaches have a 100% pesticide load and should be avoided, in cans, frozen or fresh. Cucumbers have a little over 50% pesticide load and might be eaten once in awhile. Everything else in between is up to you. Buy authentic organic when you can. Avoid soft skinned fruits like peaches, plums, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, et al.. because their skin allows the pesticide to invade the fruit entirely. On the balance, hard skinned fruits that can be washed and skinned are the best choices. Always wash and skin everything.
Other steps you can take include limiting or eliminating the amount of pesticides in the home, such as bug spray. Also reduce or eliminate the amount of pesticides and chemicals you use on your lawn and buy natural products whenever possible. Non toxic solutions exist. Use Diatomaceous Earth on bugs in the house and yard. It is the best solution for fleas, roaches and garden bugs. Use herbal insectides, too. Other important steps should include restricting your children’s use of public parks and playgrounds. Locate pesticide free zones for your children to use. Stop spraying your own yard and garden; use non toxic, herbal and safe alternatives. Netting works wonders. Write to your government representatives telling them to increase controls over pesticides and to reduce their use in your neighborhood. They stopped flying overhead and dosing all of us with moquito spray, they can stop spraying altogether. Learn to use citronella candles or skin sprays instead. You can place a sign on your lawn or in your garden saying “Pesticide Free” or “NO Pesticides”, perhaps more people will follow suit. It will, at least, let everyone know you are thinking about the safety of the children in your area.
You can detox from pesticides. Start by reducing the amount in the food you eat. You can buy a charcoal filtering system for your water source as this will remove some, not all, of the chemicals in your water. Water softeners use ion exchange technology to remove chemicals from the water so you might investigate this. Carbon will not remove flouride but it does remove some of them. There are arsenic removal filtration systems that you can purchase but test your water first. The local authorities in some areas do a good job of regulating arsenic levels while others are lax. Get a testing kit first and if the levels are high enough for alarm, then buy the filter.
These are just a few ideas. It is important to you monitor what you eat and drink in order to secure your safety and long term health. I hope you find this useful.