pesticide exposure

  1. Organophosphate poisoning could cause memory loss

    Pesticides increase brain risk

    We all experience that mental pause from time to time, whether it's a name on the tip of your tongue or a simple calculation that you stumble over once or twice before getting it right.

    Sometimes, it's just an innocent mental flutter.

    But you'd be surprised by how often it's something else entirely -- and for many people, it could be the only outward symptom of a slow organophosphate poisoning.

    We're all exposed to a class of chemicals called organophosphates, widely used in pesticides and aircraft fuel, and even low levels of exposure can have a powerful and damaging effect on the brain.

    In one new analysis of data on 1,600 people who took part in 14 studies, researchers found very noticeable effects with regular exposure to low levels of organophosphates -- especially among people exposed in the line of work, such as pilots and farmers.

    The specific areas affected by rrganophosphate poisoning  included two of the most critical: memory and the ability to process information.

    In some cases, the people exposed could even identify specific situations in which these mental slowdowns harmed them -- like farmers losing the ability to respond quickly at sheep auctions, and airline workers who have a hard time remembering what air traffic control just told them.

    That's not just inconvenient -- that's downright dangerous, especially if that airline worker happens to be in the cockpit of an aircraft.

    But these days, you don't have to work on a farm or fly a plane to be exposed to organophosphate poisoning  and face those same risks. Live near an airport -- or a farm -- and you could already be getting more than your share.

    And no matter where you live, these chemicals could seep into the ground and contaminate the water table -- and they're not always removed in the water treatment process.

    That's why it's critical to eat organic foods that aren't coated in pesticides and use either reverse osmosis or a water distiller to filter chemicals and other toxins from your tap.

  2. Apples top pesticide list

    I know it feels like summer has only just begun, but fall is right around the corner -- and that means apple season is almost here.

    Don't be fooled by the apples you'll find in the supermarket year 'round -- most of them are actually months old... and you won't believe the tricks they use to keep them fresh.

    The guy in the produce department will tell you that the secret is cold storage -- but those apples aren't just placed in a giant fridge somewhere.

    They're also given a massive dose of pesticides after they're harvested in order to prevent mold, blight, rot, and stains during that storage period.

    They're pumped so full of chemicals that a recent study based on government data found at least two pesticides on 92 percent of all apple samples even after they were washed and peeled.

    And 98 percent of more than 700 apple samples tested by the USDA had at least one pesticide.

    As a result, apples were placed on top of the Environmental Working Group's "dirty dozen," a list of fruits and vegetables that contain the highest levels of pesticides.

    EWG says apples are followed by celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, imported nectarines, imported grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, domestic blueberries, lettuce, and kale.

    If you can't afford to buy everything organic – and these days, who can? -- make sure you at least go organic for those.

    While there's not a lot of research on what a low-but-steady stream of pesticides can do to a person, we do know that higher doses can cause cancer and hormonal problems.

    Some studies have found that farm workers exposed to pesticides on the job have a higher risk of Parkinson's disease. And in pregnant women and children, pesticide exposure has been linked to low birth weight, brain damage, ADHD, and even lower intelligence later in life.

    But the news from the produce aisle isn't all bad. EWG also found a number of fruits and vegetables so low in pesticides that you don't have to buy organic.

    They call them the Clean 15: onions, corn, pineapples, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mangoes, eggplant, domestic cantaloupe, kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, and mushrooms.

    The organization has a helpful guide you can print, clip and bring to the supermarket.

    It's just about the only time you might need to compare apples and grapefruit.

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