8 Depressing Facts About Pesticides

Unless you're living a completely organic lifestyle off in the woods somewhere, pesticides are something you're probably exposed to on a daily basis. Not only are they sprayed on our food, they're permeating the air we breathe and infiltrating the water we drink. What can you do about it? Well, if nothing else, you can become more aware of the pervasiveness of pesticides and their effects. Having more knowledge about their presence can be helpful for knowing how to avoid them. Get ready though: today's facts about pesticides are fairly depressing.

8 Pesticide Facts

Pesticides are likely nothing new to you, but the full truth may be. There are many ways you are exposed to pesticides on a daily basis, and many of these ways have nothing to do with the food you're eating. Here are 8 facts you might not know about pesticides.

1. Do Pesticides Increase Suicide Risk Among Farmers?

More and more farmers are exposed to pesticides daily, which is probably a no-brainer to most people. There's growing evidence that prolonged pesticide use can affect one's mental state, and some research also indicates pesticides may influence Parkinson's disease risk. A recent report examined the link between a depression diagnosis and specific pesticides. According to the report, organochlorine insecticides were 90 percent more likely to correlate with a depression diagnosis among farmers who used the toxins on a daily basis. Fumigants increased risk by 80 percent. [1] While these numbers are certainly alarming, it's not just long-term use of pesticides that's the issue; short-term exposure to toxic levels can also double your risks for depression and suicide. [2][3]

2. They're Affecting Pregnant Women

While pesticides might be wreaking havoc on brain chemistry, there's also evidence suggesting they cause pregnancy complications. [4] Ethylene thiourea (ET) is a compound found in the fungicide Mancozeb. A recent report found that ET could affect brain development in an unborn child. Exposure isn't that difficult, either. Mancozeb is often sprayed on bananas, watermelons, and potatoes as well as other common fruits and vegetables.

3. Pesticide Regulations Are a Joke

It might come as a shock to learn some areas have little to no regulations when it comes to toxic pesticides. For example, in Oregon, buffer zones for streams are only 60 feet, and residential areas haven't even been protected since 1996. [5] Even more depressing, there are no federal laws that require growers to report pesticide use to schools. A recent pediatric report noted that brief exposure can cause eye and skin irritation as well as headaches. [6] Who knows how harmful these pesticides can be to our kids over time?

4. They're Destroying America's Waterways

A recent U.S Geological Survey found that pesticides still contaminate our waterways. [7] The study, which noted levels from 2002 to 2011, reported that while banned pesticide concentrations are dropping, newly approved pesticides are simply picking up the slack. While the risk to aquatic …read more

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