6 Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Pesticides
By Greg Seaman • June 29th, 2010 • 7446 Views
Pesticides are designed to control the nuisance and damage caused by pests, and have contributed to reducing disease and increasing food production worldwide. But the availability and widespread use of pesticides also has the potential to pose unexpected risks, both directly and indirectly, to our health.
In the US, over 4.5 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year, with 75% used in agriculture and 25% in homes and gardens. The prevalence and widespread use of pesticides has increased our exposure to a variety of chemicals, while the long-term health implications are still being studied.
Pesticides affect different people differently. Children may be more sensitive to some pesticides than adults. Compared to adults, they breathe in more air and eat more food relative to their body size, increasing their exposure. When they play on floors or lawns or put objects in their mouths, they increase their chance of exposure to pesticides used in yards or lawns. Also, their developing bodies may not break down some chemicals as effectively as adults.
People of any age with asthma or other chronic diseases may be more likely than healthy individuals to get sick after pesticide exposure. Some individuals are also more sensitive to the odor or other irritant effects of certain pesticides.
But no matter what their individual sensitivities, people in the greatest danger of pesticide illness are those whose exposure is highest, such as workers who mix or apply pesticides. People who use pesticides in their homes may also be overexposed and become ill, especially if they do not carefully follow the directions on the product label. People living near agricultural fields are more likely than urban residents to be exposed to farm chemicals (although their exposure may not necessarily be high enough to cause harmful effects).
What can you do to minimize pesticide exposure?
1. BUY ORGANIC AND LOCALLY GROWN FRUIT AND VEGETABLES.
Buying organic, in-season produce from your local market is the best assurance of pesticide-free produce. To identify fruit grown organically, look at the little sticker – the number should be five digits and start with “9” (e.g. 94223). If you are on a limited budget, look for organic choices for the produce your family eats the most. National surveys have also shown that fruits and vegetables from farmers’ markets contain less pesticides even if they’re not organic.
2. WASH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES BEFORE EATING.
Commercial vegetable and fruit washes are available which are formulated to remove chemical...
green living, environment, green tips, Healthy Living, pesticides