Beware the Effects of Pesticides

Effective washing of produce is important along with buying organic fruits and vegetables when possible.

by Brad Hayman, DPM, Complete Foot & Ankle Care

In the October 2020 issue of Consumer Reports, I read an article on “Pesticides on Produce” describing how much contamination there is in fruits and vegetables that may contribute to disease in humans.

 The article described several insecticides used on produce including potential neurotoxins and hormone disruptors. These chemicals include: acephate (a neurotoxin), chlorpropham (may interfere with thyroid hormone), chlorpyrifos (a neurotoxin), cyhalothrin (may interfere with the body’s neuromuscular system),  famoxadone (a hormone disruptor), and fludioxonis (a fungicide that may have hormone disruptive effects).

As a podiatrist I see many patients who suffer from neuropathy and other neuromuscular conditions. Neuropathy often presents with a combination of symptoms that range from numbness, burning, tingling, disrupted balance and other difficult-to-describe symptoms.

The damage to nerves is often hard to diagnose and difficult to treat. There has been some success with treatment of neuropathic symptoms that includes nutritional supplements, MicroVas (electrical stimulation) and laser therapy. Physical therapy can often improve muscular control and balance caused by neuropathy.

As a practical matter it is not possible to remove all risk from chemical exposure in foods, but effective washing of produce is important along with buying organic fruits and vegetables when possible. Studies have shown organic fruits and vegetables to have less pesticide contamination and less possible risk of adverse health effects.

Unfortunately, the EPA is doing little to protect people from potential harm from pesticides and fungicides in the food supply. Because of this, people need to do all that they can to limit exposure to these possible harmful chemicals.

Consultation with your primary care provider, naturopath, and/or dietitian can help guide you to a healthier diet.