What we didn’t know then but know now is that these pesticides are wreaking havoc on our health in many ways. Today we have more exposure to these chemicals than ever before.
The dangers of pesticide exposure have gotten a lot of attention recently with the class-action lawsuits against Monsanto, makers of the weed killer Roundup, by those who used it occupationally. If you don’t have a job that requires you to work with pesticides, you might not think a lot about your own exposure to these chemical toxins – but you should. You might be surprised to learn that you are exposed to pesticides day after day on a regular basis. We ingest pesticides in the food we eat and the water we drink.We can inhale or come in contact with them when we walk through a park, play around or two of golf or use them in our gardens or homes.
Our reliance on pesticides began in the 1950's, known as the “Golden Age of Pesticides,” when new products considered “chemical miracles” with no downsides were introduced to farmers and the general public with little testing. (1) In 1952, 11% of corn crops and 5%of cotton acres were treated with herbicides; by 1982 those percentage grew to 95% of corn and 93% of cotton crops treated with pesticides. Between 1947 and 1952, the USDA registered almost 10,000 new, separate pesticide products and the list continued to grow through the rest of the century. (2)
What we didn’t know then but know now is that these pesticides are wreaking havoc on our health in many ways. Today we have more exposure to these chemicals than ever before. When we are exposed to pesticides in our food and environment, the toxins are stored in our fat cells. Once there, it’s very difficult to liberate them from the body. We see patients all the time in our practice who are eating healthfully and taking care of themselves, but not getting well. Often, it’s because they are not aware of just how toxic their bodies are.
Think about it. If you’re eating a salad full of produce that was sprayed with pesticides and drinking tap water that’s full of chemicals, the benefits of the healthy food and drink you’re consuming are offset by the poisons they contain. Regularly being exposed to these toxins can overburden your body’s detoxification pathways and cause the toxins to accumulate. That’s why you can do everything “right” and still feel “wrong.”
DO YOU SUFFER FROM HEALTH PROBLEMS LINKED TO PESTICIDES?
Three of the most common health conditions linked to pesticide exposure (though there are many) include autoimmune conditions, hormonal issues and Parkinson’s disease. Being exposed to pesticides – and we all have been – raises your risks of having these three conditions. Here’s what research has shown:
1. Autoimmune conditions.Studies have shown that exposure to pesticides can harm human health by exerting damaging effects on the immune system including structural and functional alterations. (3) In other words, pesticides can cause a chain reaction by triggering the immune system, which in turn triggers an immune reaction, which in turn leads to autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease is basically when the body is attacking itself. Examples include Hashimoto’s disease(hypothyroidism), rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, colitis, IBS, multiplesclerosis and lupus. In addition, studies have shown that alteration of well-regulated immune responses can increase susceptibility to developing various types of cancers, allergies and infectious diseases, in addition to autoimmune conditions. (4)
2. Hormonal problems. Certain pesticides contain chemicals that are known as “endocrine disruptors.” These are chemicals that enter the body and mimic or disrupt the actions of naturally produced hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. These hormone disruptors basically throw your body out of whack and can lead to the development of infertility,fibroids, PMS, PCOS, acne, brain fog and other hormonal issues. Endocrine disruptors have also been linked to ADHD, diabetes, cardiovascular disease,obesity and even some childhood and adult cancers. (5). There are more than 50 active ingredients in pesticides that have been identified as endocrine disruptors by the European Union.
3. Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’sis a devastating neuro degenerative disease that affects the body’s motor skills.According to studies, Parkinson’s is the neurological disease most frequently associated with exposure to pesticides in occupational or environmental settings and data has provided sufficient evidence to establish an association between exposure to pesticides in general and an increased risk of developing the disease. (6)
A recent study from the University of California at Los Angeles found that long-term household use of pesticides with common active ingredients known as “organophosphorus chemicals,” or OPs,can increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s by up to six times. In addition, the study found these pesticides caused an inhibition of an enzyme linked with Parkinson’s disease development at levels far lower than what’s allowed under current safety standards. (7)
THE RIGHT WAY TO RID YOURSELF OF TOXINS ONCE AND FOR ALL
I want to reiterate that once these chemical toxins accumulate in your body, they are not easy to get rid of. We see patients all the time who are cleansing, fasting or detoxing, but they are not doing it correctly. If you are not properly supporting the body’s detoxification pathways, you will never get well. That’s why if you or someone you love suffers from any of the conditions mentioned above, it’s so important to find a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner who has the knowledge and tools to help you properly eliminate toxins from the body.
At our center, we can work with you to determine your level of toxin exposure, then help you reduce your toxic burden though diet and other means and increase your body’s ability to detoxify properly through nutritional and other support. Once these steps are taken in the proper way with proper guidance, many of our patients see their conditions drastically improve. If you think you might be suffering from health conditions tied to pesticide exposure, we’d love to talk to you about how we can help.
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