Is Organic Food Better for You? Pesticide-Free Makes All the Difference!

Is Organic Food Better for You? Pesticide-Free Makes All the DifferenceUse of Pesticides Linked to Depression

A recent study from France shows that farmers who use weedkillers are more than twice as likely to suffer from depression than farmers who don’t use the chemicals. And, farmers who had greater exposure – either more hours or longer years using weedkillers – had the greatest risk.[1]

This study is one of the first to specifically link herbicide exposure to depression. There are 3 types of pesticides: fungicides, herbicides and insecticides. Fungicides target molds (fungus), herbicides target weeds, and insecticides target insects. All 3 types of pesticides are known to be neurotoxic (damage nerve cells). But, earlier research on depression and pesticides has been limited to primarily insecticide use. Since herbicides are more commonly used among the general population than insecticides, this study is particularly enlightening – and alarming – especially for people who enjoy gardening at home.

Use of Pesticides Linked to Parkinson’s Disease

A study published in 2012 revealed that the use of insecticides has been linked to an increased incidence of Parkinson’s disease.[2] But, recent research expands the pesticide-Parkinson’s risk. Dr. Emanuele Cereda, M.D., Ph.D., and Dr. Gianni Pezzoli, M.D., examined data from 104 studies that were published between 1975 and 2011 to uncover a link between pesticides and Parkinson’s disease. Overall, they found exposure to pesticides was tied to a 58% increased risk of developing the disease. And, certain herbicides and fungicides were tied to doubling the Parkinson’s disease risk.[3]

Is Organic Food Better For You?

The burning question is this: If pesticide exposure causes so much harm to farmers (and potentially home gardeners), what in the world are these chemicals doing to us when we eat non-organic food containing them? While this topic will continue to be debated by scientists and environmentalists, it does beg the question: Why would you eat non-organic food and risk the exposure to pesticides when you can eat organic and avoid them altogether?

According to the Environmental Working Group, consumers can markedly reduce their intake of pesticide residues by choosing organic produce, meat and dairy. To learn more about organic shopping and how to properly clean non-organic produce, read our article, Is Organic Food Better For You? Standford University Study Raises Questions

Aside from buying organic foods, gardeners can make environmentally-friendly herbicides and insecticides at home. For our DIY pest control and weed repellents ideas, click here.

[1] Am. J. Epidemiol. 2013;178(2). Published online July 12, 2013.

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UHN Staff

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