How Much Should A 2.5 Year Old Boy Weight Pesticides In Food

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Pesticides In Food

I’ve been wondering for the last 10-20 years why did I get fatter? I had pretty good eating habits and exercised regularly. But every year, the rolls around my waist and hips slightly expanded. I recently learned about the theory that as toxins build up in your system from the environment, the body covers up the poison in a layer of fat. And these fats are very difficult to remove. When I heard this theory, I began to wonder about the use of pesticides on crops that are found in many of the foods we eat.

Since before 2000 BC, humans have used pesticides to protect their crops. The first known use of a pesticide in food was elemental sulfur dust used in ancient Sumer about 4,500 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia. By the 15th century, toxic chemicals such as arsenic, mercury, and lead were being applied to crops to kill pests. By the 1950s, arsenic-based pesticides were dominant. Paul Müller discovered that DDT was a very effective insecticide. Herbicides became common in the 1960s, led by triazine and other nitrogen-based compounds.

During the 1940s, manufacturers began producing large quantities of synthetic pesticides for use in food and their use became widespread. Some sources consider the 1940s and 1950s to be the beginning of the “pesticide era.” 2.5 million short tons of industrial pesticides are now used each year.

Effects of pesticides in food on the environment

The use of pesticides in food raises numerous concerns for the environment. Over 98% of sprayed insecticides and 95% of herbicides reach a destination other than the target species. Air, water and soil in the treated area are at risk. Pesticide drift occurs when pesticides are suspended in the air as particles are carried by wind to other areas, potentially contaminating them. Pesticides are one of the causes of water pollution, and some pesticides contribute to soil contamination.

In addition, pesticide use on crops reduces biodiversity, reduces nitrogen fixation (inhibits plant growth), contributes to the decline of pollinating insects, destroys habitat (especially for birds) and threatens endangered species. Pests can develop resistance to a pesticide, necessitating a new pesticide. Alternatively, a higher dose of pesticide can be used to suppress resistance, although this creates a circular problem of stronger resistance, stronger pests.

The heavy use of pesticides in the United States can now be found in our bodies.

  • 93% of Americans tested by the CDC have neurotoxic insecticide in their urine.
  • 99% of Americans tested positive for DDT, which was banned in 1972.
Women who were exposed to DDT as girls are 500% more likely to develop breast cancer.

How can the US government allow the use of pesticides in our food supply? Europe has a health-protective cautious approach to food production, unlike our government which treats chemicals as “innocent until proven guilty”. It may be decades before we ban the chemical, and by then it will be too late. Our EPA sets limits on the maximum amount of a particular pesticide that can be found on any food, but there is no limit on the number of different pesticides found in a food. Children exposed to pesticides have increased chances of ADHD, autism, as well as future chances of reproductive cancers.

The good news is that in 2009, farmers raised $24.8 billion worth of organic produce. We need more government support for this type of sustainable agriculture to help lower prices so everyone can afford organic produce. In more good news, when the child’s diet was switched to organic foods, within days pesticides became undetectable in urine samples.

If you have an iPhone, there is an app that informs you about the risks of different types of produce and the health problems that can result from pesticides on that food. Go to WhatsOnMyFood.org and download the app on iTunes. Some examples of what you’ll find:

  • Aznphos – a neurotoxic insecticide was found on 65% of pears.
  • 97% of domestic catfish contain DDT.
  • There are 48 different pesticides on spinach. 5 of them can cause cancer.

For centuries, humans have tried to protect their crops by using pesticides, but only in the last 6 decades have we gone too far and developed chemicals that are not found in nature. These chemicals “kill everything”, both good and bad bugs. As rates of obesity and disease continue to climb, we need to reevaluate which pesticides are in our food supply and how to avoid them.


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