An era of industrial agriculture has led to widespread pollution as millions of tons of pesticides have been applied to green space across Europe and the USA. They pervade the environment, they permeate ecosystems: we find them at significant levels in the animal food chain, which means we consume them as well.
How these chemical products break down in the natural world depends on the individual substance, but in most cases, it takes decades.
Contaminating Our Water Supply
A 1998 Dutch study noted a total of fifty-five different pesticides in rainwater analysed across six separate locations – including Heptachlor, an insecticide banned in Europe in 1984.
While recent findings uncovered a terrifying level of pesticide contamination in surface water with rivers carrying contaminants from the land into the sea, polluting the coastal waters in which we swim.
How Pollutants Affect Our Health?
- But authorities have only recently acknowledged the potential scale of damage of these chemicals: experts now link many alarming findings to the sharp increase in pesticide usage, industrial effluent, domestic waste, and car exhaust – amongst other toxins.
Medical studies suggest such pollutants cause a significant rise in brain disease with reported cases tripling in the last 20 years alone.
- Scientists at the University of Southampton covering the incidence of brain disease between 1979-1997 discovered that Dementia – primarily Alzheimer’s but other forms of cognitive decline as well – more than tripled among men, rising nearly 90% among women.
- For other diseases – including Parkinson’s and Motor Neurone Disease – scientists discovered a rise of roughly 50% in cases for both men and women in all countries except Japan.
- A separate study by scientists in Atlanta, USA – involving a sample size representing the entire US population – showed the urine of all subjects contained a number of metabolites of pesticides with75% containing heavy metals like mercury, cadmium and lead.
Unfortunately, the American population has also been exposed to a wide range of synthetic – or “man-made” – hormones; by-products of pesticide and detergent manufacture, and plastic production.
In essence, pesticides, insecticides, and other synthetic substances stimulate the same response as the oestrogen hormone, while slowly accumulating in fatty tissue. They impact hormone receptors, potentially causing abnormal cell growth and subsequently leading to disease.
A Universal Concern
The pesticide industry is vast with global annual sales of nearly $58 billion.
Manufacturers claim the risks mentioned earlier are merely the price we pay to feed a growing global population – but the question remains, “are we feeding, or poisoning?”
How to Combat the Health Hazards
As much as being aware of the widespread issues, it’s important you understand how to deal with the risks at a personal level.
In our next article, we will discuss how a plant-based diet can boost your health. Plus, we’ll detail how high-quality, naturally-derived nutritional supplements can be a saving grace in times of trouble.