Serious Danger Found In Foods And Water
Did you know that the same class of chemicals used as nerve gas is also used on foods? And it poses serious health risks. Read on and I’ll tell you what it is, what it does, and what you can do to protect yourself.
During the 1930s and through World War 2, both the Germans and the British first began developing organophosphate nerve gases. The Americans reportedly did not develop any organophosphate nerve gases on their own. However, after the war, the Americans learned the secrets of the German chemists.
It was at that time that Americans began to mass produce organophosphate chemicals. However, instead of designing them for use in war, the chemicals were produced as insecticides and herbicides.
Today, in the U.S. there are over forty organophosphate pesticides registered for use. And an estimated 73 million pounds are used each year.
Acetylcholine is a natural neurotransmitter produced in animals, including both insects and humans. We all need adequate amounts of it to stay healthy. Deficiencies in acetylcholine are associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, for example.
However, too much acetylcholine is an even greater problem than too little. That’s because in excess, acetylcholine can lead to paralysis and death.
The way in which organophosphate chemicals work is to prevent the natural breakdown of acetylcholine. So too much builds up. They are effective insecticides (and nerve gases) because in insects (and humans) the resulting excess acetylcholine causes death.
There is an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase that normally breaks down excess acetylcholine. But organophosphate chemicals block that enzyme. And they do so irreversibly. That means that even once the organophosphate chemicals leave the body, the enzymes still won’t work. Instead, it takes a long time for the body to be able to produce new enzymes that will work.
Acute vs Long Term Exposure
Organophosphates are so toxic that in the U.S., people who work with the chemicals have to get tested every day to make sure that they haven’t been exposed. And in warfare, nerve gases have been used to produce death in a short time.
So acute exposure to significant amounts of organophosphate chemicals can have very serious consequences.
However, research shows that long term exposure to very small amounts repeatedly can result in the same sorts of problems.
The effects of organophosphate poisoning include muscle weakness, muscle cramps, fatigue, paralysis, hypertension, hypoglycemia, headache, convulsions, tremor, coma, excessive salivation, sweating, and irritable bowel. Obviously, many of these symptoms can be produced by other causes as well.
Found On Foods
Organophosphate pesticides are used on many crops in the United States. This, despite the fact that they have been shown to be linked with a long list of serious health problems.
In 2008 the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report stating that it found organophosphate pesticide residues on many produce samples. Some of the worst offenders were:
- blueberries - 28 percent of samples
- celery - 20 percent of samples
- green beans - 27 percent of samples
- peaches - 17 percent of samples
- strawberries - 25 percent of samples
- broccoli - 8 percent of samples
In addition, the Environmental Working Group maintains a current list of the crops with the highest levels of organophosphate pesticides. In addition to the above, its list also includes;
Found In Water
Several federal agencies have conducted studies of drinking water supplies in the U.S. and found high levels of organophosphates in more than a quarter of all drinking water. Those communities that are nearest to heavy organophosphate use are at the greatest risk.
What You Can Do
While I do want to emphasize the potential seriousness of this matter, I don’t want to suggest that you should panic or be afraid. There are some simple and sensible steps you can take to reduce your exposure to organophosphate chemicals.
First of all, minimize your consumption of the crops that are most highly contaminated with organophosphates. My recommendation is that for the lists of foods with the highest levels of organophosphates, eat only those that have been produced without pesticides. That way you can ensure that you are not exposing yourself to dangerous chemicals proven to cause health problems.
Not all crops are grown with organophosphates, however. So you needn’t worry about foods other than those that are the most highly contaminated.
Secondly, if you live in an area at risk of organophosphates in your water, filter your water through a carbon filter. This can be inexpensive and effective. Even cheap carbon filters can remove many toxins, including organophosphates.
While some types of pesticides may not be a major health concerns, organophosphate pesticides can be. They can accumulate and produce effects after many years of small exposures. So to be on the safe side, minimize your intake of the foods with the highest levels of organophosphate residues. For those foods, choose ones produced without pesticides.
And if you live in an agricultural area or have any reasons to be concerned about your water quality, filter your water through an inexpensive carbon filter to greatly reduce the organophosphate residues.
Do these things, and you’ll be protecting your health for life.