LIFE: The Most Harmful Pesticides in the U.S.
Of the thousands of dangerous pesticides used in the United States, roughly 100 percent of all fungicides, more than 50 percent of all herbicides and about 30 percent of all insecticides are known carcinogens and toxic to humans. These chemicals are the cause of some cancers, a variety of different types of nerve damage, birth defects, miscarriages, and death. Many of these pesticides are airborne. Between 50 and 95 percent are found in our food and in our drinking and ground water. Though these chemicals are known carcinogens, even when used in small doses, they are still being used. Why? And what can we do to prevent being exposed?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than one billion pounds of pesticides are used annually in the U.S., and many grains have been genetically modified to include pesticides within the nucleus of the seed. When livestock are fed these grains, the pesticides build up in their fatty tissues. When we eat the livestock, we inherit the same pesticides. Though humans receive plenty of pesticides in this manner, it is suspected that residue on produce is by far the real culprit when it comes to how much pesticide we ingest on a daily basis.
Two pesticides that are extremely dangerous to the brain and nervous system, especially of children, are methyl parathion (also known as Penncap-M) and azinphos-methyl. Dangerous residues from these pesticides are found on select nuts and fruits including apples, peaches, and pears, as well as wheat, rice, sugar beets, and cotton. Following a law suit in 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency decided to have the pesticides phased out by 2012. The plaintiffs in this case are pushing for a quicker date.
Worse Pesticides on the Market Today
Some of the worst pesticides have already been banned in the U.S. They include aldrin, dieldrin, DDT, toxaphene, chlordane, and heptachlor. Unfortunately, some of the very same pesticides are still being used in other countries, and the produce is still being imported into the U.S. and consumed by unwary citizens.
How to Eliminate Chemical Buildup
The following list offers several ways to eliminate chemicals:
- Grow your own organic foods
- Preserve your own organic foods
- Buy organic foods
- Wash all fruits and vegetables (use running water and a clean wash cloth to wipe produce down followed by a two-minute rinse under running water)
- Use only natural cleaning products
- Use natural insect repellent (never buy products that contain DEET)
- Avoid the use of artificial scents, cosmetics, and room and laundry deodorizers
- Do not use artificial sweeteners
- Avoid processed foods
- Avoid areas where pesticides may have been sprayed
- Do not use pesticides in your home or garden
- Do not use mosquito spray
- Wear pants (tuck socks into pants) and long-sleeves when you travel in areas where insects are suspect