Are Pesticides Putting Our Children On A Path Toward Cancer?

Are Pesticides Putting Our Children On A Path Toward Cancer?by Courtney Chapman, Contributor

In a new study published byEnvironmental Health, children that are highly exposed to food-borne toxins are more susceptible to develop cancer, birth defects, and developmental disabilities later in their lives.

Researchers were able to assess risk by comparing toxic consumption to the benchmarks for cancer and non-cancer health risks. They found that all of the 364 children (between the ages of two and seven) exceeded the cancer benchmark for various toxic compounds like arsenic, dieldrin, DDE, and dioxins. More than 95 percent exceeded non-cancer benchmarks for acrylamide, a cooking byproduct found in most processed foods like potato chips and tortilla chips. The children were also exposed to a high level of pesticides found in fresh produce like tomatoes, peaches, apples, grapes, lettuce, broccoli, strawberries, spinach, pears, and more.

The study focused on the toxin exposure in children because of the health effects of early exposure. Rainbow Vogt, lead author of the study, had this to say about their research:

“We focused on children because early exposure can have long-term effects on disease outcomes. Currently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency only measures risk based on exposures of individual contaminants. We wanted to understand the cumulative risk from dietary contaminants. The results of this study demonstrate a need to prevent exposure to multiple toxins in young children to lower their cancer risk.”

So how do we lower the exposure of food-borne toxins in our children? The answers may not surprise you.

1. Start varying your children’s diets. Researchers suggest that parents should vary their children’s  to help reduce exposure. “Because different foods are treated differently at the source, dietary variation can help protect us from accumulating too much of any one toxin” says Irva Hertz-Picciotto, professor and chief of the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health at UC Davis.

2. Shop locally and organically when possible. Organic foods are shown to have lower pesticide levels and are usually more nutrient dense than their conventionally grown counterparts. You should also avoid GMO’s when possible. There currently isn’t any federal mandates banning these organisms, but they have been linked to cancer and other diseases.

3. Reduce your consumption of animal meat and fats. Animal fats are shown to have significant levels of DDE (a byproduct of the pesticide DDT that has been linked to breast cancer, reproductive difficulties, and changes to the nervous system) and other pollutants. You should also try to switch to organic milk.

4. Avoid the over-consumption of processed foods. It’s pretty difficult to completely avoid processed foods, especially when they are not as expensive as fresh produce, but try to make better choices when it comes to consuming these products. Acrilomides (a chemical linked to cancer) are shown in to be in chips and other processed grains. Even though this chemical occurs naturally in foods that are fried, baked, or roasted, they can significantly increase when the food is cooked for longer periods of time and at higher temperatures.

5.  Try washing fresh produce thoroughly with simple kitchen products.Whenever you purchase produce (organic or conventionally grown) it is imperative that you wash them thoroughly before consumption. Try mixing 1 tbs of white vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda in a spray bottle. Spray the produce and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. You can also mix 1 tbs of white vinegar and lemon juice with a cup of water in a spray bottle.

This study exposes a number of policy issues with how we grow our foods and the approval process  of harmful chemicals found in many pesticides. There is a growing audience spreading awareness about these issues but the decision to expose our children to foods that contain harmful toxins remains with the consumer. We can create change through our wallets. Choose to purchase foods  and brands that are more organically grown or produced.



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Courtney Chapman is the founder and contributor of Holistic Ebony. Holistic Ebony is a website dedicated toward spreading awareness about holistic health, meditation, cultural issues, and more.

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