The human cost of pesticides

A French farmer who has died from leukaemia as a result of pesticide use is the first farmer to have his condition officially linked to pesticide use. Research by the European Union claims pesticides used on fruit and vegetables harms foetuses and young children, and since pesticides attack the brains of insects, experts insist they’re very likely to damage human brains.

Yannick Chenet, a French winegrower, started using pesticides at age 14 or 15. In April 2004 he inadvertently breathed in noxious fumes from his agricultural spraying machine without a mask on and fell into a coma. Since that time he had problems with his kidneys and nervous system and had fallen into a coma a few times.

More than a quarter of the 220,000 tons of pesticides used in Europe is sprayed onto French soil. A joint report by the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the UN environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for children to be given greater protection against the chemicals in fertilisers, particularly in developing countries. Research at Berkeley’s School of Public Health, University of California has shown that children exposed to organophosphate pesticides while still in their mother’s womb were more likely to develop attention disorders in later years. The nervous systems of infants undergo most of their development in the womb. Pesticides act on a set of brain chemicals closely related to those involved in ADHD.

These and more studies are showing that organophosphate pesticide exposure can impact human neurodevelopment, especially in children.

President Barack Obama’s Cancer Panel promotes consumption of organic food – that is, food grown with no pesticides, chemical fertilisers, antibiotics or growth hormones – to decrease the chances of cancer through exposure to environmental chemicals. Two studies at Emory University have found that switching children with ADHD to an organic diet lowered the concentration of organophosphate pesticides in the children.

Source: Natural News

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First Published in January 2011

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