Pesticides and your food
Unfortunately the advancement of our technology and society as a whole has lead to a great deal of industrial pollution. Some of these toxins pose health risks that we have yet to fully understand.
One area of research that has begun to draw links between toxins and their impacts have suggested pesticides to have a role in the development and progression of Parkinson’s disease. Insecticides like organophosphate and organochlorine have the strongest association with development of Parkinson’s, however a direct causal relationship has not been established. Regardless, when it comes to dealing with overall health is it always preferable to eliminate as many toxins as possible from one’s environment.
Be aware of toxins used in your home, work or school environment.
If you choose to use herbicides or pesticides in your home, take as many precautions as possible to reduce your exposure.
- Wear gloves, glasses and clothing to cover your skin
- Wear a respirator to reduce inhalation of toxins
- Do not store chemicals (paint, cleaning supplies) in areas that will off-gas or be exposed to high temperatures
- Avoid areas which have been sprayed with herbicides, pesticides or other harmful chemicals as much as possible.
Buy Local, Buy Organic
One of the best things you can do to reduce harmful environmental toxins is to buy local and buy organic. By buying local, toxins involved in the transportation and production of the goods is dramatically reduced. Ask the farmer or representative what, if any, pesticides are used and what methods are used to reduce exposure to the consumer.
When at a commercial market, again, strive to buy goods which are produced locally and labeled organic. In the US, products labeled or represented as "organic" must contain at least 95 percent organically produced raw or processed agricultural product. Organic foods are regulated by the USDA and in some cases state, local and private organizations. A few examples of labels can be found below.
While increasingly steadily in demand, organic foods are not always easily accessible or cost prohibitive. In those cases, fruit and vegetable products which have been scientifically analyzed for pesticide levels should be purchased. Nutriclean, for example, is a certification program which measures pesticide levels in both conventional and organic foods. Once they are pesticide residue free, they receive clean certification. Examples of these certifications are below.
Each year the Environmental Working Group, a non profit health and consumer advocacy organization, puts out a list they coined The Dirty Dozen.” These twelve fruits and vegetables make up the twelve highest with pesticide residue. According to the Environmental Working Group, consumers can reduce their pesticide exposure by 80% by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating only those with no detectable residue.
- Grapes, imported (Chili)
- Bell peppers
Fruits and vegetables only make up a part of the toxins that are found in our diets. It is important to consider avoiding animal foods that have been tainted with growth hormones and antibiotics. Looking for milk, beef, poultry and fish that have been raised organically and respectfully goes a long way in reducing our overall toxic load both personally and globally.
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Author: Marco Vespignani, ND
Copyright Northwest Parkinson's Foundation Virtual Wellness Center,