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4 New Reasons to Avoid Pesticides


Within the past two months, new research has emerged that links food pesticides with four different health problems. These findings build on earlier studies indicating pesticide exposure leads to adverse effects, underscoring the benefits of buying organic foods.

1. A common pesticide may boost the growth of dangerous gut bacteria.

Roundup is one of the most frequently used pesticides in the country, being applied regularly to corn and soy crops, which together make up the bulk of chicken feed. A study published in Current Microbiology finds that glycosides, the active ingredient in Roundup, kills the healthy bacteria in the gut of animals but has no effect on the disease-producing bacteria.

Researchers in the study explain that it is often the healthy bacteria in the gut that curtails the growth of the disease-producing strains. Therefore, the reduction in healthy microbes can boost the growth of bacteria that cause botulism, food poisoning and other infections, in effect, making the deadly bugs more dangerous. The authors hypothesize that this effect could be linked to an increase in botulism.

This disturbance in the gut microbe population not only affects the animals eating the feed from crops grown with Roundup, but also affects the people who consume the animals, points out Sayer Ji, founder of Green Media Info. Buying organic meat and produce can protect you from the effects of this pesticide.

2.      Low-level exposure to organophosphates causes permanent brain damage.

Organophosphates are the most widely used pesticide in the world. In a review published in Critical Reviews in Toxicology, researchers found that low-level exposure to organophosphates can cause permanent deficits in memory, information processing and other cognitive functions such as language. Rather than focusing on a single study, the scientists undertook an overview of research of this pesticide conducted over the past 20 years. The findings showed a “significant correlation” between these pesticides and impaired cognition. These results are important because although the toxicity of high levels of organophosphates is well known, the effects of low-level exposure have not been conclusively established.

3.      Pesticides may raise the risk of prostate cancer.

In addition to receiving pesticide exposure through food, people can also be exposed to these harmful chemicals from inhalation, skin contact and contamination of ground water. Spotlighting this type of exposure, a recent investigation called the Agricultural Health Study monitored over 54,000 people who applied pesticides.

Within 14 years, over 1,900 of them were diagnosed with prostate cancer, of which 919 cases were aggressive. Of the 48 pesticides involved in the data collection, four showed a significant correlation with the aggressive form of prostate cancer. These were either organochlorines or organophosphates.  Most organochlorines have been banned in our country now, as they have been associated with cancer.

4.      Pesticides are linked with Parkinson’s disease.

Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group often warns that some pesticides that were once considered perfectly safe are later found to be harmful to health. Unfortunately, these effects are often not brought to light until consumers have been exposed to them for years, he says. A recent study proves his concerns are valid.

Researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles have discovered an association between Parkinson’s disease and exposure to benomyl, a fungicide that was used for decades on a broad spectrum of fruits and vegetables before it was discontinued in 2001. The parts of the study involving tests in lab dishes and tests in animals found benonyl causes changes in nerve cells that lead to Parkinson’s disease. Moreover, when testing the health of more than 1,000 people, they uncovered that those who lived or worked within 500 meters of areas where the fungicide had formerly been used had a 200 percent higher risk of developing the disease.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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