Pesticides are chemicals that are used to control pests. But the effects of pesticides not only affect pests, but are also harmful to human health. Health problems caused by pesticide exposure can include nerve damage, skin and eye irritation, to cancer.
Pesticides become the main weapon in eradicating pests that attack agriculture as well as pests that cause disease. Besides being used in rice fields or fields, pesticides are also in our homes. Examples of poisons are used to eradicate rats, cockroaches, mosquitoes, or pet fleas.
Although considered effective for eradicating pests, pesticides can also be toxic to other organisms, including humans. Therefore, the procedures for use, storage and disposal must be observed.
Negative Effects of Pesticides for Health
Pesticides often stick to the foods we consume, for example apples, pears, strawberries, potatoes, grapes, celery, spinach, lettuce, and kale. Pesticides that enter the body will damage body cells and disrupt the function of organs. Eye irritation, skin irritation, difficulty breathing, dizziness, headaches, nausea, and vomiting can be directly felt by those who are in direct contact with pesticides. Exposure to pesticides in high doses can even cause death.
If used long term, exposure to pesticides is at risk of causing several health problems for humans, as below.
Disorders of pregnancy and fetal development
Risk of early puberty
Hormone disorders caused by pesticides can result in decreased sperm production. In addition, women who are often in contact with pesticides also tend to be infertile and at risk of giving birth prematurely.
Pesticides contain chemicals that can damage the nervous system. Therefore pregnant women are advised to avoid exposure to pesticides, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy. Why? Because in the first three months the fetal nervous system develops rapidly. If exposed, the risk of fetal defects, miscarriage, and pregnancy complications will increase.
Research shows that pesticides are thought to increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease. The more often it is exposed, the higher the risk. This is because poisons in pesticides can damage the body’s nerves, especially if they have been exposed in the long term.
Chemicals in pesticides are thought to increase the production of the hormone testosterone which can cause early puberty in boys.
There have been many studies linking pesticides to tumors and increasing the risk of cancer. Kidney, skin, brain, lymphoma, breast, prostate, liver, lung, and leukemia cancers are some types of cancer that may be caused by long-term exposure to pesticides. Agricultural workers are the most vulnerable to this risk.
How to get rid of pesticides
So that the remnants of pesticides do not harm the body, food processing factors become decisive. We can remove the remaining pesticides from fruits and vegetables by washing them clean. In addition, peeling fruit peels can also be done to eliminate residual pesticides and bacterial sources of disease. Unfortunately, this method also has the potential to eliminate the valuable nutritional content of these fruits.
Another solution you can do is to wash fruits and vegetables with baking soda solution. Research shows that this method is more effective in removing residual pesticides than just washing them with water.
Since pesticides are still familiar in our lives, the best way to avoid their negative effects is to avoid direct exposure to pesticides. Use personal protection such as masks and gloves when using pesticides, to minimize exposure.