Pesticides were hailed as a revolution in farming, stopping insects from destroying crops and increasing yield to provide more food for an increasing population. The innovation had its drawbacks, however. Researchers determined that the heavy use of chemical agents in pesticides play a big role in the development of certain cancers and other health hazards to those regularly exposed to them.
Farmers More Prone to Developing Leukemia
Farmers and their families have higher rates of leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, skin, stomach and brain cancers. This is thought to be due to their occupational exposure to pesticides. Moreover, communities that live close to farms that spray their crops are also known to have higher rates of cancer.
People living near cranberry fields in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, for instance, were twice at risk for all brain cancers and had a seven-fold increased risk of astrocytoma, a specific type of brain cancer.
A review in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology found that pesticides were also responsible for many other chronic health conditions that now commonly affect people. These included cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, renal failure, diabetes and auto-immune diseases.
Exposure During Pregnancy is Dangerous
Expectant mothers who are exposed to pesticides during gestation increase the risk of their child developing cancer in childhood. If exposure occurs during critical windows of development, they can disrupt hormone function, putting baby girls at risk of breast cancer and baby boys at risk of testicular cancer.
Currently, one in 500 children develops cancer before the age of 15. Around one in 250 of them are diagnosed before the age of six.
Health-conscious eaters and parents who want to reduce the risk of cancer in their children can invest in their health by opting for organic food. Organic fruit and veg suppliers can provide affordable, clean food for the family, in fact. Visiting an organic farmer’s market will be cheaper and provide more choices than supermarkets.
Pesticides are known to cause cancers, so choosing organic food might reduce the risk of developing the condition.