Pesticides don’t just damage and kill weeds and unwanted bugs; they can harm pets and people, children in particular—a small wonder, given they were created by the poison gas industry from WWI. Despite being changed for use on insects rather than people, household insecticides and pesticides in food can cause a slew of health problems over an extended period of time.
How to Avoid Pesticides in Food and Reduce Overall Exposure
Here is just a handful of health issues that could arise from exposure to household insecticides and pesticides in food or any other form of exposure.
- neurological problems
- autoimmune diseases
- fertility problems
- birth defects
- cancer and leukemia
The use of pesticides is especially problematic when looking at the use on farms around the world. Farmers, especially those growing with pesticide-resistant genetically modified crops, spray millions of pounds of pesticides on produce each year, and the consumer inhales it through eating. As mentioned, pesticide exposure can cause numerous complications, and has even been linked to lower intelligence levels and decreased cognitive function. Parental use of pesticides could also lead to an increased risk of brain cancer in children.
In very recent news, pesticides have gained tremendous spotlight where a flawed study went to see if organic food is the same as conventional, and if there is really any nutritional difference between the two. Of course there is a difference – you can read all about it and watch a video in the link above.
A growing population of well-informed citizens has called for safer alternatives and the market has delivered with several, safer options. You can save some cash, however, by creating your own bug repellants for household, personal, and pet use with items you probably already have in your pantry.
- For ants, sprinkle baking soda or corn meal over problem areas.
- To keep the roaches away, blend a garlic clove, an onion, 1 tbsp of cayenne pepper, and a quart of water and let soak overnight. Add 1 tbsp of liquid soap and spray in problem areas.
- To protect your pets and family from mosquitoes and other pests, mix 10 drops of citronella essential oil, 10 drops of lemongrass or eucalyptus essential oil, and 8 drops of lavender essential oil in 1 cup of witch hazel. Shake and spray as needed. You can put the essential oils as listed in an unscented body lotion or beeswax solution to make a bug repellent balm, too.
Remember that prevention is the best repellant. Keep food covered and stowed away, clean frequently, and seal cracks in walls and pipes. And avoidance is key when looking at pesticides in food. Your best bet is to buy organic when you can, and when you can’t, remember the “dirty dozen” list of produce you should always buy organic. The top 5 are:
- Sweet bell peppers
For produce not on the dirty dozen list but still not organic, you can spritz and gently scrub them with a water and vinegar mixture to remove impurities.