All the education about organic food that the American public has received in recent years seems to be paying off. Although still only a small portion of the overall food market, the organic food sector is one of the fastest-growing in the industry and chains like Whole Foods Market, with its selection of organic products, continue to be wildly popular. There are some though who just don’t get it and continue to buy conventionally raised products that in most cases are admittedly cheaper than their organic counterparts. Buying organic foods, however, is more than just a trend: there are sound health reasons behind it. Read on to find out about the top reasons why everyone should avoid pesticide-contaminated conventional foods.
According to the Albert Einstein School of Medicine, research has been uncovered which conclusively links exposure to pesticides (via food) with an increase in incidence of allergies and asthma. They suspect this is because these pesticides can compromise healthy probiotic bacteria in the gut and thus weaken the immune system, making allergies and asthma more likely.
The percentage of Americans who are overweight or obese rests currently around 66% and is so bad it has been labelled an epidemic. Pesticides might be contributing to the problem. According to a 2012 study, over 50 of the most commonly used pesticides are endocrine disruptors. This means they can break down hormonal function and lead to problems like metabolic syndrome and obesity.
Exposure to pesticides can also affect fertility. It has been found that many common pesticides (such as those used on apples) can lower testosterone levels in men, while other chemicals like atrazine have been linked to higher rates of miscarriages in women.
Pesticides can even be a problem for unborn children if they are exposed to them through foods that their mothers eat while pregnant. The Indiana University School of Medicine has done research which has associated high pesticide exposure to higher rates of serious birth defects.
Perhaps one of the most-studied (and most disturbing) aspects of pesticide-ridden foods is the relationship between their consumption and the development of cancer. Over 200 commonly used pesticides (or their component parts) have been linked to various forms of cancer.
Neurological disorders like autism (in the young) and Alzheimer’s (in the old) not only disrupt family life and cost billions of dollars, the amount of suffering they cause patients and their families is incalculable. And the rates of both diseases are on the rise. Many researchers believe that this is in part due to pesticide exposure, since so many of these chemical have been designed to act on the nervous system.
In short, there are serious health consequences to a diet which relies on conventionally raised foods high in pesticide residues. Even for those who do not get passionate about animal welfare, environmental integrity or even the economics of supporting organic (and preferably local) farmers, there are still sound health reasons like those listed above for avoiding food products raised with toxic pesticides.
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