Pesticides. You’ve probably heard of them and you’re probably aware of the fact that you consume them on a daily basis. And like most of the people, you’re probably not entirely sure how to deal with these poisonous chemicals. The unfortunate reality is the fact that most people don’t truly understand exactly what the ramifications of putting pesticides on agricultural products is having on them. Below you can find out the ugly truth about pesticides and what you can do to protect yourself.
How Much Pesticides Are You Consuming?
That tomato you’re slicing up? Pesticides
That Apple you’re munching on? Pesticides.
Is that salad you’re tossing? Pesticides
Pesticides are everywhere in our food but the question is, how much are we consuming? For that matter, how much is too much?
The answers to those questions are rather terrifying. According to this article on Panna:
93% of Americans tested by the CDC had metabolites of chlorpyrifos — a nuerotoxic insectide — in their urine. Banned from home use because of its risks to children, chlorpyrifos is part of a family of pesticides (organophosphates) linked to ADHD.
99% of Americans tested positive for DDT degradants, even though DDT hasn’t been used in the U.S. since 1972. Women who were exposed to DDT as girls are 5 times more likely to develop breast cancer.
What Can Pesticides Do To You?
Just to begin to understand how bad this is, let’s start with chlorpyrifos. It is an insecticide widely used because of its effectiveness at wreaking havoc on the nervous system. In humans it is known to be linked to the developmental disorders, as well as autoimmune disorders. This is definitely bad stuff that you should avoid. The tragic thing about it is that this substance is not yet regulated by any kind of international law. DDT was widely used back in the day as an insecticide, and has been linked to cancer. The worst thing of all is that chlorpyrifos is just one type of pesticide that comes into contact with our food. There are definitely more and things don’t get any prettier.
A significant percentage of many staple crops such as corn and soy produced in the US today are genetically modified. If you’re not eating 100% organic, you’re almost certainly eating genetically modified moods. This has significant ramifications regarding pesticide intake. Whether or not there’s anything inherently dangerous about genetic modification is a topic for another article- the real issue with GMOs is that 99% of engineered plants are modified to either be herbicide resistant, or to produce their own pesticides. The biggest player in the GMO game is Monsanto- this company owns the patents to many GMO seeds, and also owns the herbicides that these seeds are resistant to.
Basically, because these GMO seeds are herbicide resistant, farmers can douse their fields with Monsanto’s weed killer, Roundup, and it doesn’t hurt the GMO “Roundup Ready” plants. The problem with this scenario, is that there’s no such thing as “Roundup ready” humans, and when we eat plants that have been soaked in poison, there are major consequences. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has been linked to cancer and autoimmune disorders. It’s not just what we eat that matters either- you are what you eat, and you are what you eat ate. One of the reasons that animals provide such great nutrition is that they concentrate all of the valuable nutrients from the food that they eat. So, as you might imagine, if they’re eating food that was soaked in poison (which is the case unless your food is 100% organic) these animals are concentrating that poison too. So when we eat these factory farmed animals, we’re taking in huge amounts of pesticides.
What Can We Do About It?
These are just a few examples of how many pesticides are found in the food we consume. The idea of using chemicals to give us the ability to mass-produce food certainly isn’t new. The problem is people’s lack of awareness of what is happening to our food quality. To solve this issue, awareness is the first step we have to take.
At this point, admitting that pesticides are being used and are almost everywhere is the first step that should be undertaken. In addition, you can take the following steps:
1. Say no to pesticides.
Make sure that you purchase your fresh products locally to ensure lowest risk of pesticide use. And buy organic when possible- the increased use of pesticides means that it’s more important than ever to buy organic. The rise and demand for organic products in recent years is a proof that people are willing to pay more for a food that is good for them. You can check out our article for tips on eating organic.
2. Call for regulation and labeling.
It is totally unacceptable that substances like chlorpyrifos and glyposate are not regulated. When it comes to the chemicals used to process and preserve food, education of the public is absolutely necessary. At the very least, food products should be labeled with the types of pesticides that have been used in their production. For more information about how you get involved, check out The Institute for Responsible Technology.
If you have any questions, concerns, or want to join in this conversation, please do so in the comments below. This stuff is important, and we need to be talking about it!