Harmful effects of traditional farming

In traditional farming, a farmer uses wide variety of chemical pesticides, herbicides, etc... to get better crop yields. Over the years, these practices have been shown to be consistantly harmful to not only the environment but also the humans. This article will deal with the harmful effects of conventional farming on human health. Numerous studies have been performed to discern these harmful effects and here are a few examples:

  • In one study, exposure to organophosphorous and carbamic pesticides was linked to increased amount of depression in young children.
  • In another study, chlorpyrifos (organophosphate) and deltamethrin (pyrethroid) pesticides were shown to have dose- dependant effect on oxidative damage and damage to liver in rats.
  • In yet another study, phosphamidon, a pesticide, seemed to be toxic on male reproductive system of albino rats, if exposed for prolong period.
  • A study conducted in Thailand on exposure of DDT during infant growth in womb showed that DDT had some effects on the levels of thyroid hormones in infants.
  • In a study performed by researchers in Sweden, exposure to persistent organochlorine pollutants via diet was found to have harmful effects on the fertility in couples.
  • Arsenic is used in wide variety of herbicides. Japanese researchers found that MMAS (an arsenic metabolic intermediate) found in the blood of chronic arsenic poisoning patients caused extensive oxidative damage leading to cell apoptosis (suicide) in rat livers.
  • Exposing human trophoblastic cells to methoxychlor and DDT (known endocrine disruptors) resulted in disruption of calcium uptake by these cells leading to cell apoptosis. This was speculated to be the pathway by which the endocrine disruptors caused harm during the fetal development.
  • In a German study, DDT was found to be neuroendocrine disruptor as well as a functional teratogen in humans, meaning it had harmful effects on brain development and mental capacities in later life.
  • A Brazilian study conducted on individuals exposed to pesticides, showed that the exposed individuals had high rates of chromosomal aberrations compared to non-exposed individuals.
  • Imidazole fungicides were found to induce histamine release by a non-immunological mechanism in rat mast cells and cause airway constriction in guinea pigs, indicating that they can be harmful to humans if inhaled.
  • Maneb, an organomanganese fungicide, was found to have a depressant-like effect on central nervous system in mice.

Thus, conventionally grown food is not only harmful to the farmers who practice it, but also harmful to general population when they consume it. Organic farming practices do not allow the use of harmful chemical pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, etc. For these reasons organic produce can be said to be safe for human health.

Click here to read in detail about the studies mentioned in this article.

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