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How much pesticides cost us

20/09/2013

Hello again! As promised, here we go further exploring the harmful effects pesticides have on our health and environment.

Currently, there are more than 1,055 active ingredients registered as pesticides, which are put together to produce over 20,000 pesticide products that are being marketed in the United States. However, pesticide resistance is increasing. In the 1940s, U.S. farmers lost only 7% of their crops to pests. Since the 1980s, loss has increased to 13%, even though more pesticides are being used. Between 500 and 1,000 insect and weed species have developed pesticide resistance since 1945. So, more and more pesticides are being developed. For the global market of crop protection products, market analysts forecast revenues of over 52 billion US$ in 2019. And what are the numbers in regard to human health and environment? Below is a quick check, just for the US, but it gives you a pretty good idea: Harm Annual  / US Cost

  • Public Health - $1.1 billion
  • Pesticide Resistance in Pest - $1.5 billion
  • Crop Losses Caused by Pesticides - $1.4 billion
  • Bird Losses due to Pesticides - $2.2 billion
  • Groundwater Contamination - $2.0 billion
  • Other Costs - $1.4 billion
  • Total Costs - $9.6 billion

(Source: Wikipedia) Yes, they cost us. They cost us big time. Latest research shows that persistent pesticides are something we already have in our bodies at birth – the mother passes them on to her child. The possible impacts pesticides may have on human health include brain cancer, Parkinosn, diabetes, developmental and neurological disorders, reproductive and hormonal system disruptions… and many, many more. A recent study revealed connection between pesticide exposure and Attention Hyperactivity Disorder. Its goal was to examine the association between urinary concentrations of dialkyl phosphate metabolites of organophosphates and ADHD in children 8 to 15 years of age. Concluions? Organophosphate exposure, at levels common among US children, may contribute to ADHD prevalence.

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The highest risk is faced by farmers and their workers - occupational exposure to pesticides in acute cases range from dizziness and nausea to death; permanent exposures are linked to the terrible diseases already mentioned, plus asthma and leukemia. The heaviest use of pesticides is in industrial farming, but make no mistake, they are practically everywhere around us: playing fields, parks, schools, public gardens, golf courses, grocery stores, offices, apartment buildings, hotels and resorts, airplanes, cruise ships…

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So what can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones? If you are not planning on dramatically changing your lifestyle by moving to a small, distant eco-village, eating organic looks like the first and best thing to do. Some pesticides break down quickly so by adding more and more organic foods to your diet you will be able to decrease your pesticide exposure level. And also you will be decreasing the pesticide exposure level of our environment, thus creating a better tomorrow for everyone. Exactly now would be the perfect time to start buying from those small farms you have researched. Given the shocking facts, what are the alternatives? Well, there are numerous biopesticides, derived from natural materials. Stay tuned for next week to read more about them.