What is pesticide exposure?

Pesticide Exposure

Reducing pesticides on your food

Food grown with pesticides can have small amounts of pesticide left on the food when it gets to the store. You can take these steps to reduce pesticide residue.

  • Wash raw fruits and vegetables before you eat them.

    Wash them under running water. Use a scrub brush, and then rinse the food.

  • Peel vegetables such as carrots, and peel fruits such as apples.

    Peeling will remove pesticides that are on the peel. But it also removes fiber, vitamins, and minerals found in the skins.

  • Throw away the outer leaves of head lettuce and cabbage.

What is pesticide exposure?

Exposure to pesticides may come from residual agricultural pesticides in foods; from household or workplace products used to control rodents, insects, and termites; and from disinfectants and fungicides. The most likely ways you are exposed are small quantities of pesticides in the foods you eat and by direct contact with surfaces (such as plants, soils, or structures) where pesticides have been used.

How can pesticides affect your health?

If not used properly, both workplace and household pesticides can be dangerous. Exposure to high levels of some pesticides can cause headaches, dizziness, muscle twitching, nausea, weakness, and tingling sensations. Some experts believe that some pesticides may cause cancer or damage to the central nervous system. For agricultural workers, exposure to pesticides has been linked with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Pesticide exposure during pregnancy has been associated with miscarriage, fetal death, and early childhood cancers such as acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Indoor use of pesticides increases children's risk of brain tumors, ALL, and birth defects. Children can be poisoned by stored pesticides, so these should always be kept out of reach. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children have as little exposure to pesticides as possible.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.

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