Health risks of Pesticide Residue in our food

Health risks of Pesticide Residue in our food

We have been using pesticides to increase agriculture productivity. They have become very crucial in developing nations where the main task is securing relief from hunger. However, the continuous and uncontrolled use of chemical pesticides has resulted in contamination of the environment. They also get causes long-term effects on human health.


Pesticide residue in our food: -

Even after washing and cleaning our food grains, vegetables and fruits, pesticides may remain. They are used before and after harvest to protect the grains from damage or loss. Storage of food grains often requires intensive use of chemical pesticides like organophosphates, carbamate, synthetic pyrethroids and insect growth regulators. The most used and consumed pesticide in India includes sulphur, endosulfan, mancozeb, phorate, methyl parathion, monocrotophos, cypermethrin, isoproturon, chlorpyrifos, malathion, carbendazim, butachlor, quinalphos, copper oxychloride, and dichlorvos.

In India Food Safety and Standards Authority of India sets the maximum residue limits for pesticides in crops, foods, vegetables and fruits. 

A study done from a few samples of grapes shows insecticide residues like acephate, methamidophos, chlorpyriphos, monocrotophos and quinalphos. Another study on soft drinks available in the Indian market shows that pesticide residues 24 times higher than the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) norms.

Adverse effects of Pesticide residue on health: -

Most of the pesticide kills insects and other organisms by disrupting the nervous system. There are many assumptions that these chemicals can have a significant negative impact on human health as well. Though these chemicals can be washed off or do not have long durability, many of the pesticide residues that are attached tend to be lipophilic and can bio-accumulate in the body.

Many pesticides like organophosphate or organochlorine may disrupt the nervous system, paralysis or may cause death by binding to the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. They may cause other side effects like diarrhoea, diaphoresis or lacrimation.

Studies have revealed that increase of insecticides in blood level may lead to reduced fertility, early and late pregnancy loss, spontaneous abortion, and premature birth, genetic alterations in sperm, reduced sperm count.

Preventive measures: - 

There many different strategies which can be adopted to minimise pesticide and health problems. One of the methods used to reduce the use of pesticide is organic farming. There are studies and evidence which shows that organic food has consumption can reduce exposure to pesticide residues in food. Organic food has a much higher level of antioxidants and lower pesticide residue than non-organic food.

Another method is the use of bio-pesticide, which are biodegradable so no risk of pesticide residue. Natural Pesticides like neem tree are beneficial for the prevention of pesticide residues.