Pesticides are substances that help protect plants against molds, fungi, rodents, and insects.
Pesticides help prevent crop loss and, potentially, human disease.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are currently more than 865 registered pesticides.
Human-made pesticides are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This agency for how pesticides are applied during farming and how much pesticide residue can remain in foods sold in stores.
Exposure to pesticides can happen in the workplace, through foods, and in the home or garden.
For those not exposed to pesticides at work, the risks of exposure from eating nonorganic foods or using pesticides around the home and garden is not clear. To date, research has not been able to prove or disprove claims that organic food is safer than food grown using pesticides.
FOOD AND PESTICIDES
To help protect yourself and your family from pesticides on nonorganic fruits and vegetables, remove the outer leaves of leafy vegetables and then rinse the vegetables well with tap water. Peel hard-skinned produce, or rinse it with lots of warm water mixed with salt and lemon juice or vinegar. Organic growers do not use pesticides on their fruits and vegetables.
HOME SAFETY AND PESTICIDES
When using pesticides at home:
When using pesticides indoors:
When using pesticides outdoors:
To reduce the need for pesticides to eliminate rodents, flies, mosquitoes, fleas, or cockroaches in and around your home:
Parents who handle or are otherwise exposed to pesticides at work should be careful about cleaning any residue from their skin, and removing their clothes and shoes before entering the home or having contact with family members.
Do not buy illegal pesticides.
Pesticides and food
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Updated by: Eric Perez, MD, St. Luke's / Roosevelt Hospital Center, NY, NY, and Pegasus Emergency Group (Meadowlands and Hunterdon Medical Centers), NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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