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Are Pesticides a Cause of Diabetes?

I have been off for the past few days working on my upcoming book, Organic Manifesto (due in stores in early 2010). When doing some research on farming and cancer, I came across a really fascinating project called the Agricultural Health Study, which is being done by the National Cancer Institute. It’s one of those huge long-term studies that started in 1994 and is supported by the National Institutes of Health.

I was surprised to find that one of their updates discussed a strong link between seven pesticides and an increased risk of diabetes. The pesticides are: alachlor, aldrin, chlordane, cyanazine, dichlorvos, heptachlor, and trichlorfon. What I find most interesting is the open acknowledgment of the problem, including statements like this:

“Although three of the insecticides studied—aldrin, chlordane, and heptachlor—are no longer on the market, measurable levels of these and other pollutants are still detectable in the general population and in food products. These chemicals are organochlorines, as is dioxin, which has been shown to increase the risk of diabetes among Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange.”

The scientists also acknowledge that pesticide residues are stored in body fat so they are more likely to impact obese people. Hmmm. I wonder if pesticides and other chemicals can cause obesity? And I’m not the only one. As described today in Rodale News, a new report by the Organic Center outlines six ways in which obesity and diabetes levels could be lowered by organic food and agriculture.

Of course, just because the government funds a study that doesn’t mean they’ll pay attention to their own results.

One more reason to buy organic!

If any of you wonderful readers have any leads for me to investigate for Organic Manifesto, please let me know!

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5 Responses to Are Pesticides a Cause of Diabetes?

  1. CW June 5, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    I did not do a report specifically on pesticide in commercial farming but on commercial farming or agri- business as it is known. I was appalled even more so. I touched the surface on many points but one of the most blatant is that fact that the nutrition level of our food has been going down. What is grown is grown not because of taste, nutrition or any other reason one might eat something but because it ships well and has a high yield.The two factors that increase production and limit wasted product later for sale, and also not so startling the main reason for the potato famine of old in Ireland. Much of our food is also shipped very green and there for unripe. It is also detrimental to smaller communities around the world who have to buy the hybridized seeds as there are not any others commercially available and the ones sold undere a patent, (these seeds are non sustainable and not able to be saved from the plants). The waste of resources is astounding as is the abuse of the land to bring it to market.
    I am doing research on this subject as well as organics…. I will let you know what I find. I am a ferocious researcher.

  2. Helen J. Kneisley June 8, 2009 at 7:02 pm #

    This is exastly what I have been looking for. It seems no matter how careful I am buying food, my diabetes just stays the same or worsens. Could it be the food we buy in stores is causing us to be unhealthy? I’ll be watching for the results of your studies. Bless you, HK

  3. colojd June 10, 2009 at 9:34 am #

    It only makes sense that things like pesticides that can harm your immune system would prompt illnesses like diabetes. I had read some time ago that many pesticides and plastic products leach toxins that also minnick estrogen. I would like to know more about this as well. I knew so many women my age who developed infertility when trying to conceive again, and I am sure it had to do with whatever was in our water or food.

    There has been a lot of talk about how vitamin D can help prevent or reverse diabetes, so this might also be something to look into. We were told so long to stay out of the sun, now they say because of this and wide use of sunscreens that prevent any sunshine into our skins that diabetes and other diseases are the result.

  4. Joyce June 13, 2009 at 8:27 am #

    I think the best thing is to plant an organic garden and eat as much as you can from that. One of the most wonderful books I ever read was “This Organic Life,” in which the author expanded her garden each year to try to provide more food for her family. We don’t have to be dependent on corporate agricultural interests and grocery stores. And, if you live where you don’t have space for a garden, join or start a community garden. Or, organize a growers’ market in your neighborhood to help good organic farmers connect with people in your neighborhood.

  5. Jenibelle June 22, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    Thanks guys, I just about lost it looikng for this.

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