The Perils of Pesticides

Yannick Chenet is famous. He is one among the 40 farmers in France whose illness has been officially linked with his profession. Yannick, a winegrower who has been working closely in the fields since he was 15, has had continued and heavy exposure to the pesticides. This had affected his kidneys and his nervous system, finally killing him. What is alarming though, is that Yannick’s case is not the first and neither is it an isolated incident.


As experts say, Yannick may be the first official report, but there are bound to have been people before him. With an average of 220,000 tonnes of pesticides being used on the French soil; a majority of which is directed towards the vineyards, it is hardly surprising that farmers have been reported to be suffering from Parkinson’s and several types of cancers.

The biggest worry here is that soil contamination effects take a long time to show up and the cases that are worst hit are usually always the ones which have had a long time exposure.

Research by the EU claims that pesticides have the same harmful effects on human foetus and small children as it does on fruits and vegetables. The toxic effects of the pesticides can also be present in breastmilk if the new mother has had prolonged exposure to the harmful chemicals. They hit badly on the delicate nervous system of young children, making them essentially sitting ducks in front of a giant so widespread and so manipulative that there is almost no force strong enough to fight it.

In the light of this information, it perhaps shall be no surprise to note that effect of pesticides on brain chemicals and ADHD have been closely linked.

One way to combat this could be to reduce the exposure by taking help from organic food. Researches have shown that reintroduction of conventional organic diet helped reduce pesticides like Malathion and chlorpyrifos – two which have been most closely linked with ADHD and have the most widespread use.

A 15 day study with a sample of 23 children showed that conventionally grown food was better because the organically grown substitute still contained a very high degree of pesticides.

It is important to note one thing here that we are not looking at shunning pesticides. Pesticides is something that most of us use in almost all walks of life and some exposure is definitely good. But it is up to us to set a limit for that exposure.

Because the moment it becomes unregulated, is the moment we are placing an open invitation for all things unwelcome. And when it is the future of our children that is at stake, it is pertinent that we tread with caution.

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