In an effort to keep myself from going completely crazy and falling down yet another pandemic-related research rabbit hole, I decided to switch things up a bit today.
So, I dug through my archives to a simpler time… before COVID-19 stole the headlines.
Ironically, the study I want to share with you today was published on the last day of 2019—before coronavirus came to town. But believe me when I say, its findings remain as important as ever…
There are no “safe” pesticides
This recent study linked exposure to pyrethroid insecticides with a higher risk of heart disease death and death from any cause. (At a time when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] was in the process of being dismantled, no less.)
Pyrethroids are a synthetic version of the natural insecticide pyrethin, which comes from chrysanthemum flowers. While there are more than a thousand variations out there, only about a dozen of those are commonly used in pesticides in the U.S.
Pyrethroids were supposed to be a safe alternative to banned substances like DDT and other organophosphates—killing bugs without causing acute toxicities in animals and in people. But needless to say, “acute” toxicities aren’t the only side effects that matter.
These compounds are able to damage DNA, and trigger oxidative stress and inflammation with ongoing, long-term exposure. And sadly, these are side effects that affect every single one of us—as the agricultural industry has been dumping pyrethroids into the environment for years.
Previous epidemiological studies have linked these substances to diabetes, heart disease, and Parkinson’s—not to mention reproductive and neurodevelopmental problems. You’d think that would have been more than enough evidence to ban these substances, once and for all. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. And things are only getting worse.
Let’s take a look at exactly what this latest study found…
Exposure linked to staggering death rates
Researchers drew data from more than 2,000 participants of the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They also looked at levels of one common pyrethroid called 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3-PBA) in subjects’ urine samples.
The survey itself lasted from 1999 to 2002. But researchers looked at mortality data all the way through to the end of 2015. And some disturbing trends emerged, to say the least.
Namely, subjects with higher levels of this pyrethroid faced a higher risk of death during follow-up. In fact, compared to subjects with the least exposure, the highest exposure group saw their risk of death by any cause jump by 56 percent—and their risk of heart disease death rise by a staggering 300 percent.
And let me remind you that this is supposed to be a “safe” pesticide!
This, folks, is what happens when the government undermines public protections and allows big business to run slipshod over our nation’s health. And tragically, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Of course, exposure to pyrethroids is virtually impossible to eliminate entirely. But I urge you NOT to throw your hands up and admit defeat. Because even as the powers-that-be continue to stick their heads in the sand, you can still take proactive steps to protect yourself and your family.
Most importantly, I recommend eating organic as much as possible to avoid consuming invisible toxins. It goes without saying, but this is truly a matter of life and death. (Not to mention, if your produce was flown in from abroad, it could be tainted with banned substances like DDT to boot—which is why it’s also important to eat locally and seasonally.)
My local farmer’s market offers a ton of fresh, local, seasonal, and organic produce. But no matter where you buy, I encourage you to talk with your local farmer, grocer, butcher, or fishmonger. Ask them where the food is coming from so you never have any questions before it lands on your dinner plate.
And if you really want to play it safe? Start growing your own food, too.
P.S. To truly maximize your grocery shopping experience, it’s important to understand what those various food labels really mean. That’s why I tried to clear up a few misconceptions about the new crop of consumer “buzzwords” (including organic, cage-free, and non-GMO) in the November 2019 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“How Big Food’s favorite marketing ploy is hurting consumers, animals, and the environment”). Not yet a subscriber? Click here to become one today!
“Pyrethroid Exposure Increases Risk for Death.” Medscape Medical News, 12/31/2019. (medscape.com/viewarticle/923256)