Bumisuka.com – Are Pesticide Residues in Food a Health Hazard. Pesticides are chemicals that are usually used in agriculture. Its use aims to help prevent plant damage due to pests, such as insects.
When using pesticides, some of the residues may still stick to various agricultural products, ranging from fruit, vegetables and other plants. So, are pesticide residues stuck in food dangerous for health? Here’s the explanation.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than 1000 pesticides used around the world to ensure food is not spoiled by pests. Pesticides play an important role in food production. Pesticides are used to protect crops from insects, weeds, fungi and other pests.
Reported by Healthline, several types of pesticides include:
- Insecticide: To reduce crop damage from insects and their eggs.
- Herbicide: To kill weeds thereby increasing crop yields.
- Rodenticides: To control plant damage due to rodent-borne diseases.
- Fungicide: To protect plants from fungal decay.
2. How can we be exposed to pesticides?
Medical News Today explains that pesticide residues can be present in food and water. Spraying plants with pesticides can leave residue on the plants.
Pesticides can also flow from fields or enter through the soil so that they go with the water flow. In addition, exposure to pesticides is also common in some workplaces and outdoors while spraying pesticides on crops is in progress.
3. Who is at risk of exposure to pesticides?
According to WHO, the groups most at risk are those who are directly exposed to pesticides. Some of them were agricultural workers who used pesticides and other people who were in the area when pesticides were sprayed.
In addition, other people can also be exposed to pesticides even if they are not in the area when using pesticides. They can be exposed to much lower amounts through food and water.
4. Are pesticide residues in food harmful to health?
The toxicity of pesticides depends on the use of the pesticide and other factors. WHO says, insecticides tend to be more toxic to humans than herbicides.
In addition, the effects also depend on the dose or amount of exposure to humans. Toxicity also depends on the route of exposure, for example ingestion, inhalation or direct skin contact.
Pesticides are designed to kill plant pests. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pesticides can be left on fruits and vegetables in very small amounts. Generally people tend to be exposed to very small amounts of pesticides. Because such small amounts are ultimately too small to pose a health risk.
5. How to minimize pesticide residues
People who use pesticides on crops need to protect themselves by wearing gloves and a face mask.
Meanwhile, as consumers, we can limit our exposure to pesticide residues in food products by washing or peeling fruits and vegetables. Besides being able to reduce the amount of ingested pesticide residue, washing and peeling fruit and vegetables can also reduce harmful bacteria that may be carried along.
There is a lot of scientific evidence that says that eating fruit and vegetables is beneficial to health, regardless of whether the product is organic or conventional. Therefore, there is no need to avoid consuming fruits and vegetables just because you are worried about exposure to pesticides.
The health effects that arise from pesticide residues in food depend on the amount to the method of exposure. In general, pesticides can be left in fruit and vegetables in very small amounts, so there is little chance of causing a health risk. To minimize the amount of pesticide residue, you can wash and peel fruits and vegetables.