The effects of pesticides on human health can be subtle to life-threatening. Because pesticides are largely invisible to us, it is hard to determine whether they are causing a problem unless the reaction is severe and immediate following heavy exposure to these chemicals. It is also difficult to isolate the impact of exposure from other environmental toxins and other factors. Various studies show, however, that long-term exposure to low levels of pesticides can cause chronic health problems and life-threatening diseases such as cancer. Additionally, vulnerable populations like pregnant women and nursing children are at increased risk of health problems through short-term exposure.
The pathways for pesticides to enter our bodies include the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. With this many variables, it’s a challenge for individuals and communities to know their levels of exposure. Many choose to minimize the risks by restricting application of pesticides near their homes and schools, and by choosing food and water sources that are least likely to contain pesticide residues.
Earth Open Source provides assistance to communities and farm workers who have little say over their pesticide exposure from farming. We offer technical assistance to people who want to test themselves and their local environments when high levels of pesticides are suspected.
We also assist groups that conduct product testing to determine pesticides levels in food and drinks. With such knowledge, individuals can make informed choices about which brands they buy for themselves and their families.