Pesticides kill things. It’s what they do. Everyone knows that.
But what many people don’t realize is that even when they’re not killing, pesticides do very nasty things to the human body.
Here are the Foul Five hidden dangers of pesticides and how to prevent them:
1. Food allergies
Peeing pesticides? Yep, it’s a thing. Sadly, a more & more common thing. And it’s not only gross, but scary too: People with high levels of pesticide byproducts in their urine were more likely to suffer allergies to milk, eggs, seafood, and peanuts. Read about it here: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI)
Prevent it: Go organic. Start by buying certified-organic foods and download the True Food Shoppers Guide to avoid nonorganic foods that might contain GMOs.
2. Memory loss
Can’t remember where you left your apples? It may be the apples themselves that are causing you to forget: Or at least the pesticides sprayed on them commercially. So says the University of Otago in Southern New Zealand.
Prevent it: Opt for organic produce. Not only will you be avoiding memory-killing pesticides, but also eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables will ward off memory loss, according to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Need to lose a few pounds? Maybe you should shed the pesticides first. Scientists have been noticing a link between pesticides and diabetes for years: National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Prevent it: To save money on organic fare raised without pesticides, cook with organic dried beans. In the home, avoid using chemical air fresheners and artificially scented products—these things are also blamed for inducing type 2 diabetes.
Pesticides spell trouble in the baby-making department, thanks to their bad habit of not staying put. They end up in the water table and then in our tap water. Doctors and scientists tie pesticides to increased miscarriage and infertility rates: Science Direct.
Prevent it: Avoid the Dirty Dozen produce list, fruits and veggies most likely to be laced with toxic pesticides. Instead, choose organic grapes, strawberries, and imported plums.
5. Birth defects
Babies conceived during the spring and summer months—a time of year when pesticide use is in full swing—face the highest risk of birth defects. During these months, higher pesticide levels turn up in surface waters, increasing a mother’s risk of exposure. Spina bifida, cleft lip, clubfoot, and Down syndrome rates are higher when moms become pregnant during high season for pesticides. The California Birth Defects Monitoring Program.
Prevent it: To protect yourself, use a water filter that is certified by NSF International to meet American National Standards Institute Standard 53 for VOC (volatile organic compound) reduction. This will significantly reduce levels of atrazine and other pesticides in your tap water.