Synthetic Chemicals are Everywhere

Though you may feel as if synthetic pesticides don’t affect you or your community, you’re wrong! Traces of synthetic pesticides can be found everywhere, even in small amounts, and can affect important aspects of human health that are vital to growth and development. By spraying synthetics, we place our own future at risk. How? Read on to find out.

Though much of the controversy around synthetic pesticides has only recently been making headlines, the potential damage that synthetics causes has been researched and known for years. In one such example, researchers looked at young children between the ages of 4-5 in the Yaqui Valley in northwestern Mexico.

What is so special about this study? The children of the valley are much more exposed to synthetic pesticides than the children of the foothills, as pesticide use is avoided there, though the groups share similar genetic backgrounds, diets, water, as well as cultural and social behaviors. The Yaqui Valley has been affected and exposed to synthetic pesticides since the 1940s, with residue showing up everywhere from umbilical cords to breast milk. In the valley, synthetic pesticides were applied 90 times per year and included organophosphates, organochlorine mixtures, and pyrethroids. Over 33 different chemicals were used between 1959 and 1990, including DDT, dieldrin, parathion-methyl, and many others. Due to this difference, researchers decided to administer a Rapid Assessment Tool for Preschool Children to determine if there was a difference in functionalities between the two groups.

The researchers not only found a difference, but several stark and worrying developmental variations between the two groups of young children. Though their growth patterns were similar, the children exposed to synthetic pesticides had less stamina than the foothill children (mean of 52 seconds jumping compared to 86.9 seconds), lower hand-eye coordination abilities, decreased memory function, and the most striking difference, an inability to draw. Additionally, the valley children showed less group and creative play, and seemed to show more aggressive tendencies, than the foothill children.

Overall, this study is concerning as it shows the stark differences between children exposed to synthetic pesticides from pregnancy. By using these chemicals, we expose our children to unknown health complications, lowered intelligence and increased aggression, among many others. Without a switch to more sustainable and viable methods of crop protection, one that does not pose a health risk, we are risking future generations without giving them a chance. What is the solution? The answer is all-natural, neem-based biopesticides and fertilizers. These alternatives protect and produce food without the harsh consequences associated with synthetic overuse.