We all know that food is life and we rely on good food for good health. To save our health especially our children’s we need to eat clean to avoid the secret health effects of pesticides.
We are only just discovering the dirty secret that governments and big business know about – how widespread is the use and variety of chemicals in agriculture. And I’m worried … about the health of our children and in fact the health of our nation.
The Eleventh Hour – a ‘wake-up call’
Now researchers are beginning to uncover more and more evidence of the dangers associated with pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. The increasing use of herbicides containing the carcinogenic ingredient glyphosate, for example, is of great concern. These chemicals affect the environment as well as people. They kill wildlife and poison the soil, air and water. The sad story of the dying of the bees and colony collapse disorder is just one example of the effect of pesticides, in particular nicotinides.
Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides are licensed by government for use on all food supplies. In Australia Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has set maximum residue limits (MRLs) for pesticides found in food. They are meant to be minimal and they have to be measured in parts per million.
However the worst thing is that we consume a BLEND of pesticides on a daily basis.
Despite the very low concentration of pesticides found in food and all the precautions we can take to eat less, these cocktail of chemicals have been linked to adverse impacts on our health.
What are the top 5 health effects of pesticides?
The Pesticides Literature Review, which is based on studies conducted by a multi-university research team in Toronto, concludes, “Results of this study found consistent evidence of serious health risks in people exposed to pesticides…through home and garden exposure.
Some of these symptoms are often very subtle and may not be recognized by the medical community as a clinical effect.“1
- all types of cancer – bladder, breast, bone, leukemia in children and adults, lung and many more. 2
- nervous system diseases such as Parkinsons disease, motor skills
- neurological health effects such as memory loss, loss of coordination, reduced speed of response to stimuli, reduced visual ability, altered or uncontrollable mood
- gut and immune system – asthma, allergies, hypersensitivities, leaky gut
- reproductive and foetal problems – hormone disruption
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.
Recognizing the importance of natural, organic farming methods and weaning ourselves from chemical-based agriculture before we cause any more damage to our present and future generations is a logical step to help reduce the chances of disease. But at the moment there is no business or political will to change the current practices.
It’s no wonder many of us have concerns about the safety and control of pesticides.
What are the best and worst foods for pesticides?
Clean 15 – often have an outer skin
Avocado Cabbage Eggplant Grapefruit Kiwi Fruit Mangoes Asparagus Mushrooms Onions Pineapple Rock Melon Sweetcorn Sweet Peas Sweet Potato Water Melon
Apples Blueberries Broccoli Capsicums Celery Cherries Cucumber Grapes Lettuce Spinach Strawberries Zucchini
The worst of the worst
What is the one food you might want to reconsider quaffing too much? Australian consumers advocate ‘Choice’ magazine took a close look at one of the most infamous members of the fruit and veg family in the kingdom of pesticides: the inconspicuous, juicy, refreshing, innocent strawberry. If you want a quick fix of pesticides, turns out strawberries are your drug of choice.
Choice analysed punnets of strawberries from Coles, Woolworths and several independent fruit shops, organic food specialists and organic food markets in Sydney. What did they find? A cocktail of 150 different pesticides across all samples. It was particularly shocking that some samples included four pesticides while others contained pesticide residues that exceeded the prescribed maximum recommended levels.
Eat clean to avoid secret health effects of pesticides
What do we mean by eating clean? If you want to reduce levels of pesticides in your body when buying commercially grown food, choose from the Clean Fifteen, buy less of the Dirty Dozen and seek out certified organic produce.
When you try to buy seasonal veggies from local markets, you are guaranteed to get fresher produce with less chemicals. Once you get home, remember to always wash your fruits and veggies thoroughly and, if you are not buying organic leafy greens, it is best to cook them for consumption.
Can’t afford organic prices?
If you’re on a tight budget, go at the end of the day to the farmers markets and you should get some good deals on local, organic produce.
Better still, start a small veggie patch with a focus on the Dirty Dozen – and avoid pesticide use in your garden. That way you’ll know exactly what you’re eating.
1. Pesticides Literature Review: Sanborn, Margaret and others; April 23, 2004
Abstract: This study, subtitled, “Systematic Review of Pesticide Human health Effects,” examined 265 studies of the effects of pesticides on human health and concluded that all classes of pesticides are associated with serious harm to human health. The study recommends adoption of the precautionary principle with regard to pesticide use.
2. Pesticide induced diseases: Cancer – www.beyondpesticides.com