Disease, Cancer, Pesticides, and Chemical Drift

Disease, Cancer, Pesticides, and Chemical Drift

Jul 10th 2017

One of the most common things missing in traditional medicine is simply a residential history. We take in toxins in several ways: from our diet, through our skin, and through our respiratory systems to name a few. All of these things relate at least in part to where we have lived in the past, including where we grew up during our formative years.

Pesticides are extremely hazardous to your health, and those who work on farms or live in agricultural areas where pesticides are used regularly are especially susceptible. Why? Because pesticides are both airborne particulates that can be breathed in and they can be absorbed through the skin.

While some companies claim their pesticides are no more harmful than aspirin to humans, some of the most toxic pesticides used in the United States are also prone to drift. This spray can land on yards, playgrounds, porches, Studies by the Pesticide Action Network show that up to 95% of pesticides miss their mark.

Even the most careful farmer or professional applicator cannot control what happens to those droplets of chemical once they leave the plane, helicopter or tractor. This does not include volatilization drift, the process whereby pesticides evaporate off of crops or soil and back into the air in extremely small particulate form for several days after an application.

Breast Cancer and Pesticides

The Pesticide Action Network (PAN) is not the only research group looking into pesticide drift. One study, conducted by Carrie Tayour, MPH , Toxics Epidemiology Program, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and Myles Cockburn, PhD , Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California used GIS to map historical pesticide use, lifetime residential and occupational history with the California Pesticide Usage Reporting System data and land usage data to track exposure to certain pesticides.

The study, A GIS-Based Model of Historical Pesticide Exposure on the Risk of Breast Cancer, was conducted in California’s Central Valley, an agriculturally rich area. Researchers compared unexposed women with those exposed to pesticides both at work and at home. Those exposed to certain chemicals showed increased risk of breast cancer, while other pesticides seemed to have little or no effect. Those unexposed showed no increased incidence of breast cancer. Younger women aged 55-64 in the study were also found to be at higher risk than those in the study aged 65-74, making researchers believe there might be a factor related to the age at which exposure occurred.

Pesticide Use Reporting (PUR)

Currently the state of California and a few other state regulations require pesticide use in certain amounts to be reported. That data is then mapped, and overlaid with instances of certain cancers and other diseases.

  • Study after study confirms that increased pesticide usage in certain areas is related to increased instances of cancer, including breast cancer and prostate cancer in men.
  • Different cancer rates in different age groups may indicate the age at which exposure occurred mattered.
  • The type of pesticide matters. Glyphosates are among the most common and most hazardous chemicals used, and have been linked directly to many illnesses.

Through this pesticide reporting and the mapping of cancer causes, not only is it possible to reduce use, exposure, and disease rates, but it is also possible to apply early preventative care wherever possible.

What Do You Do?

Often, people are exposed to pesticides through no fault of their own, including where they grew up or the industry their parents worked in. So what do you do about it? There are a few important steps:

Avoid Exposure Again, If Possible: Some chemicals build up in your system, or if you are exposed more often, your body becomes more susceptible to their effects. Avoid being exposed to these chemicals again if possible.

If you live in an agricultural area where spraying is common, avoid going outside on days when spraying is being done. If you do, wear long sleeves and even a mask if practical. Wash your hands thoroughly after touching anything outdoors that may have been exposed to chemical drift.

Also, filter your water before you drink it. Chemical drift can often impact water sources as well, and filtering them properly, preferably with a reverse osmosis system is an important part of eliminating exposure to toxins.

Detox Often: As often as possible, go through a dietary cleanse to detox your body, and take other steps to detox your liver and lymphatic systems as well. Consider using the Dr. Nuzum Two Week Detox plan, or even the 21 day detox.

Cleansing your body of chemicals and other toxins you may have been exposed to through air and water is essential to your overall health, and especially critical if you have been exposed to certain chemicals or pesticides.

Share your History with Your Naturopath: Sometimes a natural health professional can look at all of your symptoms and think you may have issues that you don’t. Remember, natural medicine looks at the “why” behind illness, not just the treatment of “what” and addressing symptoms.

It is therefore really important that you share where you have lived, as this reveals potential causes of disease that might not be immediately discernible using other methods. While looking at diet and personal habits are common, the environmental piece of health is often not fully explored.

If you live or work on a farm or you reside in a place where agriculture is a primary industry and fields are sprayed frequently, you will face the potential hazards of pesticides and chemical drift. While the fight is underway to limit the use of these materials, you may not be able to entirely avoid exposure in the meantime.

Being aware of the issue and taking steps to protect you and your family, practicing detoxification protocols, and sharing where you have lived with your health practitioner are all positive steps to achieving and maintaining optimal health.

If you have any questions about chemical drift, detox, and other issues feel free to contact us. 

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