Pesticides in food are commonly used to prevent or destroy pests, protect food from bacteria, weeds, mold, insects, and rodents. According to specialists, pesticides can be harmful to people, animals, or even the environment.
The harmful effect of the pesticides is due to the fact that they are produced to kill or harm living organisms. That is why, when you accidentally ingest food that has pesticide residues on it, you might get sick. Even though the government regulates pesticide use, there are still residues found in our food.
Eating organic has become the motto of our days. However, it is impossible to completely avoid eating non-organic foods. Furthermore, pesticides are so widely used, that they are not found only in food, but also in air or water supplies. The best thing you can do is to reduce your exposure to the pesticides in what you consume every day.
The 5 Most Common Pesticides in Food
They are also known as Monsanto’s Roundup. This pesticide is used on genetically-modified soy, corn, canola, and cotton, as well as in home gardens and parks. Recently, glyphosate residues were discovered in the Mississippi Basin. These residues were exceeding the allowed levels, especially when we talk about drinking water. Glyphosate has been linked to birth defects, neurological disorders, fertility issues, and even cancer.
This is a weed killer. It is used a lot in the United States, every year, most commonly on corn in the Midwest. A study showed that residues of atrazine were found in all river sites included in the research (26). This pesticide is an endocrine disruptor, increasing the risk of birth defects, infertility, and possibly cancer.
Pesticides in food are not a thing of the modern world. For example, this specific pesticide was created in the 1960’s by the Dow Chemical Company. Chlorpyrifos was used especially in home gardening, and can now be found in cotton, almonds, oranges, apples, and corn crops. This pesticide can have a wide range of health effects, from a mild headache to more serious conditions such as respiratory paralysis, and a high risk of ADHD.
This is classified as a Category C herbicide. It is recognized by the EPA as cancer causing. It is used on corn, soy, and sorghum, as well as lawns and trees.
This pesticide is a widely used fumigant, and it is usually applied to potatoes. It can have side effects like nausea, difficulty breathing, vomiting, hormone disruption, and birth defects.
Another research has shown which were the most contaminated fruits and vegetables in 2015:
- 99% of the tested samples turned out to have pesticide residues.
- 98% of the peaches tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.
- Almost all of the tested nectarines were contaminated with pesticide residues.
- A single sample of strawberries showed 13 different pesticides.
- These fruits were contaminated with 15 different pesticides.
- It is one of the most pesticide-contaminated vegetables.
- This also has pesticide residues, even though it is less contaminated than celery.
- Sweet bell peppers. One tested sample contained 15 pesticides.
- It is also one of the most contaminated vegetables, along with celery and spinach.
- Cherry tomatoes. This tested vegetable contained 13 different types of pesticides.
- Snap peas. Along with strawberries and cherry tomatoes, snap peas also showed 13 different pesticides.
- These are the most contaminated vegetables that the research tested. Potatoes had more pesticides than any other vegetable.
- Hot peppers. They were found contaminated with pesticides that attack the human’s nervous system.
- Kale/collard greens. Researchers found over 51 types of pesticides on kale.
After reading this long list, you can easily see how many aliments are affected by pesticides, and how important but difficult it is to avoid them.
As you can see, pesticides are the only toxic substances released intentionally into the environment to kill living things. This includes substances that kill weeds and rodents. Pesticides in food are used everywhere, not only in agricultural sites but also in homes, parks, schools, etc. From the bug spray under the kitchen sink to the airplane that shoots pesticides on the fields, our world if filled with pesticides.
Effects of Pesticides in Food
Obesity and Diabetes
This is mostly caused by 2,5-DCP pesticide, which is one the most widely used pesticides on the globe. Studies have shown that agricultural fungicide creates insulin resistance in fat cells. People with higher rates of pesticides in their bodies are more likely to become diabetics.
In over 60 studies, long-term exposure to herbicides and pesticides has been associated with Parkinson’s disease. To avoid this problem, simply use fewer pesticides, or the ideal situation is when you don’t use pesticides at all.
Infertility and Birth Defects
This is one of the most popular negative effects of pesticides in food. Atrazine may be partially responsible for miscarriages and increased infertility rates. This pesticide is used in agriculture as well as on golf courses.
Pesticides in food may be partial to blame for cases of children with autism. This is the negative effect of the long-term exposure of the mother while pregnant, as well as of the child in his/her early years. This happens because pesticides are designed to affect the neurological system of the bugs, affecting also the nervous system of small children.
Scientists have linked pesticides in food with several types of cancer such as breast, prostate, brain, bone, thyroid, colon, liver, and lung cancer. Even indirect exposure can affect children, through parental use.
The best way to avoid pesticides in food is to buy organic food, and buy air purifying plants for your home. Remove pesticides from your house, and remember that organic food can be cheaper and healthier.