Conceiving "Ill Health": Pregnancy and Pesticides

February 17, 2015

Conceiving "Ill Health": Pregnancy and Pesticides

Conceiving ‘Ill Health’: Pregnancy and Pesticides?

The Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon famously once remarked that a mother carries her child within her own body for nine months, in her arms for three years after that and in her heart and mind for the rest of her life. Little wonder that one of her Indian counterparts poignantly observed that you can never truly understand Life until it grows inside you!!

The miracle of pregnancy being such an incomparably special period in a woman’s life, it must therefore come as nothing less than a rude shock to women all over India that the risk of poisoning a growing foetus in utero is arguably higher in India, than in most other countries, given the thoroughly indiscriminate manner in which farming is practiced all over this country.

Sounds perversely implausible? Then, consider the following:

A widely publicized set of findings carried out by the University of California in mid-2014 [as part of the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and Environment (CHARGE) study] found that pregnant women who live near - within 1.25 to 1.75 km - agriculture sites where pesticides are applied on a commercial scale, had over 60 per cent increased risk of having a child suffering from health problems like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other neuro-developmental disorders like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) that manifest between the ages of two and five. This effort (published online in the reputable journal Environment Health Perspectives - examined associations between specific classes of pesticides applied during the study participants' pregnancies and later diagnoses of autism and retarded behaviour in their children.

Not only are ALL the pesticides cited in this study (and duly referenced in the table above) heavily used by Indian farmers, an earlier study (published in the journal ‘Neurotoxicology’– had already concluded that people of Indian origin may have lower levels of the enzyme paroxonase (PON1) and may therefore be relatively more susceptible to the effects of organophosphate pesticides. More alarmingly, Indian farmers are known to use 750 times more of all these pesticides on the average, in comparison to their Western counterparts, thus greatly increasing prospects of their residual content by the time the produce they are used on, reaches our homes. Similarly, DDT – an insecticide associated with congenital hypothyroidism following exposure in the womb, as well as early miscarriages – has long been banned in Western countries, but continues to be used widely across India.

Such serious health risks are not restricted to those living in areas of high pesticide / insecticide exposure either. A recent, comprehensively-designed study examined 195 different foods to assess the dietary intake of pesticides among five socioeconomic groups within Hyderabad city and found that residues were present on 51% of the samples examined. Of the 13 different pesticides analyzed, the highest concentration was for beta-Hexachlorocyclohexane (β-HCH), an organochloride that has in fact been banned in the United States for over 30 years due to its neurotoxic effects on humans – Diverse studies the world over have also negatively correlated significant decreases in gestational age (the standard length of a human pregnancy term) and birth weight with exposure to organophosphates and other pesticides, during pregnancy [see, for example]. Generally speaking, an overall decline in the cognitive skills of growing children has also been persuasively linked to the dietary regimens of their breastfeeding mothers, as also their food intake during pregnancy, especially residual pesticide content on the fruits and vegetables they consume. This is not at all surprising since the neural system of a foetus is formed by a process of continuous cell division, during early development. Synapses – the junctions between nerve cells, across which electrical impulses are conveyed in the brain – are formed during these periods and many pesticides interfere with these vital processes, leading to subsequent developmental impairments in brain function.

These worrisome scenarios would understandably tend to frighten pregnant mothers across India. Fortunately however, NanoCleanse – a highly innovative, eco-friendly, nanotechnology-based product specifically designed to address this urgent issue – is now available to all Indian mothers. NanoCleanse is 100% natural, completely safe, very affordable and easy to use. All one needs to do is to dissolve a mere capful (10 ml) of the NanoCleanse solution in 1 litre of water towards purifying as much as 1 kg of fruits or vegetables, followed by soaking / swirling for just 3 minutes and briefly rinsing under running water.

Needless to add, it is not just the ‘unborn’ that are vulnerable to the significant dangers posed by pesticides and insecticides–MOST of us carelessly and knowingly indulge such highly pervasive risks by consuming highly contaminated produce every day [Please also refer to the companion article: ‘Naam hai ‘NanoCleanse’!! Kaam: Desh ki Nano’tandurusti!!’ at].

Should we – expecting / breastfeeding mothers, in particular – indeed continue to do so when a convenient, affordable solution is readily available? Have you NanoCleanse-d your fruits and vegetables today?