February 24, 2021

Pesticides and its impact on our wellbeing

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Pesticides are substances that are used to control “pests” that include insects and other organisms that are harmful to cultivated plants and animals. Unfortunately, these toxic poisonous substances that are used to kill targeted pests, are exposed to non-pest like beings-us humans! Pesticides are poisonous and continual exposure to it can lead to a list of harmful health effects. An increasing number of studies have revealed a direct link between pesticides and serious illnesses like cancer and respiratory problems. 

Exposure to Human Health

Exposures to pesticides can occur in many ways unimagined ever and some of the common exposures that harm humans include:

  • Farmers and workers exposed to pesticides first hand in agriculture through the treatment of crops.
  • Residents in rural areas living next door to these farms
  • Exposures through forestry 
  • Exposures through professional and domestic pest control
  • Exposures through wood treatment with preservatives, treatment of boat hulls
  • Exposure through the treatment of livestock to prevent parasites. 

In urban areas, the exposure may feel more subtle. However, we are constantly in the presence of pesticides through the spraying of facilities like parks and playgrounds. For some of us who have “Green fingers”, we may want to purchase pesticides exclusively to cater to a gardening hobby. Pesticide residues can also be found in the food we eat, which is where the maximum risk lies as we ingest the pesticide.  Children are also affected due to pesticide exposure, due to the food they intake or other means like lawn, floor or the playground. They are more vulnerable to exposure.

Effects of Pesticides on Health

Pesticides are known to cause two types of adverse health effects:

  1. Acute health effects

These include but are not limited to stinging of eyes, blisters, itchy rashes, blindness, nausea, diarrhea and sometimes, even death. Acute or immediate health effects from exposure to pesticides are those that are known immediately to the body. It could start with irritation of nose, throat, and skin and escalate to other symptoms. Asthmatic patients particularly suffer from serious implications from exposure to pyrethrin/pyrethroid, organophosphate and carbamate type of pesticides. In several cases, acute health effects of exposure to pesticides mimic a normal cold or flu symptom. This makes it even more difficult to take seriously and diagnose correctly. Therefore, any acute conditions that crop up owing to a pesticide exposure can go under-reported often confused with a common cold. Although the immediate symptoms may not be serious, it can often spiral into a serious condition. A doctor may not even feel the need to assess exposure to poisonous or toxic substances, but it is still important to seek help before the situation progresses.

  1. Chronic health effects

Health effects that fall under this category are long-lasting. These include but are not limited to brain and nervous system damage, tumors and cancer, infertility, damage to crucial organs like kidney, liver, lungs, etc. Unlike Acute health effects, these symptoms do not appear immediately instead they span over weeks, months or even years to show up from the moment of exposure to the pesticide. This makes it increasingly difficult to link health impact and pesticides. 

Effect of Pesticides starts from the Inside

While the general toxic effects of pesticides are well understood, did you know, they can go as deep as disrupting your cell’s mitochondria? Your mitochondria are your biological batteries that generate energy, assist detoxifying and support immune health. Exposure to pesticides can meddle with its function, hindering energy production and triggering early cell death. The article “10 Pesticides That Could Harm Your Mitochondria” from Microbe Formulas explains that the mitochondria organelles inside of the cell are responsible for the conversion of nutrients that have been absorbed from the diet into cellular energy or ATP.”  The pesticides that could harm your mitochondria are:

  1. Glyphosate
  2. Paraquat
  3. Chlorpyrifos
  4. Atrazine
  5. Rotenone
  6. Trichlorfon
  7. Dicamba
  8. Fenpyroximate
  9. Ziram
  10. Dieldrin

Protecting Yourself from Pesticides

In short, all the above can tamper mitochondrial function, impair membranes and DNA, and messing energy production. Protecting the function of mitochondria is more important as they influence genetic expression. It is also actively involved in detoxification, brain activity and strengthening the immune system. Mitochondrial dysfunction is linked to a list of long-lasting and some fatal diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, Parkinson’s, Skin disorders, Diabetes, Gut disorders, etc.  All the more reason to pay close attention and avoid exposure to pesticides as much as possible. 

The good news is, despite these pesticides, one can control the exposure we have to it. There are several actions that can be taken to protect yourself and support your wellbeing. They include:

  • Restrict exposure

Whilst it’s impossible to completely eliminate the presence of exposure to pesticides, by choosing the right kind of food and taking measured steps, we can avoid it affecting health. To support this, you can:

  • Choose Non-Gmo food
  • Choose to purchase or grown organic food
  • Avoid using pesticides in your own garden 
  • Say no to chemical bug sprays
  • Detox

A good detox of the body can flush any signs of toxins. Consuming supplements that support a complete detox is highly recommended. Our liver, for example, neutralizes most toxins- which would include pesticides too. TUDCA is a water-soluble bile acid that stimulates bile release into the gut. This allows for flushing out toxins to exit from the body through the stool.

Pesticides- To stay or Eliminate?

Despite all the health hazards pesticides pose, it is considered to be a very useful substance when it comes to getting rid of pests and weed. Its importance is very prevalent, however, so are the health effects caused owing to active exposure. Ensure to restrict exposure to pesticides and consult a health professional at the first signs of a pesticide-related impact. Even if you feel it’s a silly cold or a trivial rash that goes away over time, it’s worth getting it checked by a doctor to ensure it isn’t a direct link to pesticide exposure. Also, indulge in frequent and complete detoxes to ensure the body is able to release toxins. This is an important step as it’s almost impossible to find the exact source of pesticide and so is easier to release it from the body.

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