Pesticide exposure linked to childhood leukemia
Epidemiological studies confirm that those areas of the United States where the use of certain pesticides are higher may also be responsible for the rise in childhood leukemia. While mortality rates have diminished over the past ten years, actively pursuing preventive lifestyle measures such as limiting exposure to toxic chemicals can dramatically reduce your child’s risk for developing leukemia.
Want to raise a healthy family? Avoid pesticide exposure
It has long been known that pesticide exposure can cause birth defects and influence the development of disease. We have seen this in children living on farms who experience seizures and suffer from vomiting due to continuous over-exposure of cancer-causing chemicals.
Even in small amounts, children are particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of industrial and household pesticides. Because children are still developing and their tissues are highly permeable, they become more vulnerable to the toxic effects.
Do socioeconomic influences play a role?
Socioeconomic status is always a potential risk factor in disease etiology factoring. It has been substantially argued that lower socioeconomic status is associated with poor food quality – which is often, non-organic and grown with pesticides.
Prenatal exposure to pesticides may also be higher in lower socioeconomic groups. This may include children of farmers. But, the key point here, let’s focus on solutions.
How do I limit my child’s exposure to pesticides?
1. Go non-GMO and organic in your kitchen and garden. One week on an organic diet can reduce pesticide exposure by 90 percent! You may even want to grow your own food by choosing non-GMO and organic seeds and plants.
At the supermarket and farmer’s markets, select non-GMO, organic produce, dairy and meat. The “dirty dozen” which have been linked to high pesticide use:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Grapes (Imported)
2. Avoid household pesticides. In the garden and to control pests indoors and along perimeter choose non-pesticide, organic care products. Also, be very careful and avoid the cancer causing chemicals in personal care products.
3. If you live near highly sprayed areas, consider relocation – if possible.
4. Choose preventive and therapeutic (protective) nutritional supplements such as vitamin C, D, beta-carotenes, milk thistle, resveratrol, curcumin (turmeric) and mangosteen.
5. Purchase a water purification system for home use to reduce pesticide exposure from municipal water sources.
Generally speaking, a good quality reverse osmosis or distillation unit will remove most of the unwanted toxins from your water supply. Just remember – these units remove essential minerals, so you can remineralize your water with sea salt.
Determining genetic biomarkers improve your prevention strategies
Understanding how environmental influences such as pesticide exposure affects childhood leukemia is tantamount to overcoming the risks for developing this devastating disease.
Scientists are looking closely to see how environmental pollutants affect very sensitive biomarkers in relationship to childhood leukemia. Related studies assert that pesticide exposure prenatally could be as influential as post-natal exposure on the genetic scale. Simply put, if you’re pregnant or expecting to be pregnant (soon) – avoid toxic chemicals, as much as possible.
Naturally, more research like this could help limit overall exposure across all socioeconomic groups. But, for now, do everything you can to avoid these unwanted risky substances.
About the author: Christine M. Dionese L.Ac, MSTOM is an integrative health expert, medical journalist and food writer. She’s dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health. Christine practices, writes and speaks on environmental functional medicine, epigenetics, food therapy and sustainable living.
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