Are Pesticides Making You Sick?

Dr. Adrienne Sprouse

Dr. Adrienne Sprouse

Unwanted pests such as flies, mosquitoes, roaches, termites, fire ants, bed bugs and lice are a nuisance.  However, care must be taken to get rid of them without causing harm to yourself.  Traditional pesticides include a wide variety of chemical compounds that can be found in buildings including your home, workplace, schools, and stores as well as on the foods you eat.  Some pesticides persist in the environment years after their initial application.

Broad categories of pesticides include:  Organophosphates (chlorpyrifos, malathion, etc.), Organochlorines (DDT, trans-nonachlor, etc.),  Carbamates (aldicarb, carbofuran , etc.),  Pyrethroids (resmethrin, permethrin, etc.),  DEET, and newer pesticides like Anthranilics, Diamides, Phenylpyrazoles, etc.  Pesticide formulae can also include other chemicals such as piperonyl butoxide and solvents that can cause human illness.

With the introduction of genetically modified foods, pesticides are now inserted into the seeds of plants and labeling is not yet mandated.  So you could be eating pesticides in your corn, tomatoes, and other vegetables without even knowing it!

Pesticide exposure is associated with a wide variety of human illnesses including  Parkinson’s Disease, depression, breast cancer, prostate cancer, asthma/wheezing, respiratory failure, headache, fatigue, cardiac dysrhythmias, ringing in the ears, stupor, nausea, vomiting, cognitive defects, blurred vision, muscle twitching,  aplastic anemia,  irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, birth defects, mental agitation, withdrawal from reality, paranoia, psychosis, dementia, and death.

Integrated Pesticide Management (IPM) is an effective, broad-based approach that uses information about the life cycle of pests and their interaction with the environment to develop an environmentally-sensitive system of pest management.  IPM preferably uses natural products rather than synthetic ones, with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

Tests are available to measure pesticides in urine, breast milk, and other body fluids.  To locate a physician trained in pesticide diagnosis and treatment contact the American Academy of Environmental Medicine online at


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