The Impact of Pesticides and Herbicides on Farmers

December 12, 2013

As consumers, we buy fruits and vegetables from our local grocery store in efforts to stay healthy and strong. However, did you ever stop and consider how these products are grown? In other words, traditional crops are grown using a variety of pesticides and herbicides. These harmful chemicals are sprayed onto all kinds of foods, but particularly fruits and vegetables.

As a result, farmers are exposed to a wide variety of these toxins on a regular basis. Pesticides, which includes herbicides and insecticides, are pervasive chemicals in the environment and responsible for a myriad of health problems. There has been much research to confirm these adverse health affects. Conditions range from mild skin irritation to very severe birth defects, tumors and even in some rare cases, death.

Not Just the Farmer’s Concern

Given that the farmer spends a great deal of time near his crops, he will unavoidably be inhaling aerosols, dust and vapor that contain harmful chemicals from pesticides. Additionally, he may ingest pesticides through water or food and more than likely through direct contact on his skin. However, what about the workers on the farm, or people that live near the farm? What are their risks?

Most people don’t think about pesticides too often, and that’s probably not a bad thing. However, more people would think about it if they were aware of a few facts. For one, simply because you are not a farmer, does not exclude you from the negative health affects of pesticides. This is because over 98% of sprayed insecticides and 95% of herbicides land further than their intended target. In addition, pesticides leak from production sites and storage containers in lots of different ways. Pesticide reaches others when it runs off a field, gets sprayed into the air and drifts, gets put in the water to kill algae and even when it gets thrown away. Unfortunately, there is no real way to contain pesticides and the farmer and his family are not the only ones exposed to it.

Organic as a Workable Solution

There are ways to avoid the harmful effects of pesticides. Certainly by purchasing crops that have been grown organically is one sure way to avoid ingesting harmful chemicals. Perhaps if more people were to buy products grown this way, the demand would increase and more farmers would see the benefits of choosing to grow organically. There are however, a few eco-friendly companies that are already putting forth the effort to educate the consumer into making better choices. Goose Organic, for instance, is a reputable merchandiser who chooses to consider the environment and its health as a top priority.

Maybe you have never thought about the harmful effects that pesticides and herbicides have on your health. Perhaps a bit of information can significantly change the shopping habits of the American consumer. Until that time, we must be conscientious about the health problems that our farmers face on a daily basis. Even with precaution, pesticides are reaching a much larger target than originally intended. Whether through land run off, drifts in the air or in the water, pesticides are seeping into our world and bringing along with them a list of health issues.

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