Pesticides carry a very bad reputation, and rightfully so. Homeowners spray pesticides in relatively small quantities in their gardens to ensure harmful insects can’t destroy their plants. Farmers, on the other hand, use an enormous quantity of pesticides since they have acres and acres to cover. In some cases, farmers hire pilots to fly crop dusting planes filled with pesticides over their fields. Farmers and those who work the fields to manage the crops, pull weeds and pick the fruits and vegetables are directly exposed to these pesticides. There are very few ways farmers can minimize risk and exposure even though they are aware of the potential risks caused by these chemicals.
Pesticide Exposure Issues
A recent study followed farm workers for 20 years to see first-hand how long-term pesticide exposure affected them. Roughly 10% of the workers lost their sense of smell and numerous adverse health conditions were linked to pesticides exposure. Many of us have heard about DDT. It was a pesticide (insecticide, to be exact) that was widely used between 1874 to 1972. The military used it to prevent diseases, such as malaria and typhus. People sprayed DDT inside buildings to prevent ants and other insects from spreading. Farmers didn’t hesitate to douse their crops with this pesticide. Scientists and the medical community identified a connection between DDT and reproductive issues in women, as well as liver tumors and other forms of cancer. Although many modern-day pesticides are supposed to be safer, they are not!.
Different Methods of Pesticide Exposure
In order to be physically affected, pesticides must enter the body. There are several modes of exposure. They include dermal exposure, where pesticides end up in your eyes or on your skin. Since skin has pores, the chemicals can leach into your system via these pores. Briefly touching the pesticide with a single, unprotected hand is all that is takes to be exposed. Additionally, inhaling and ingesting the pesticides are also modes of exposure. If a person takes a breath while a crop duster flies overhead dispensing the pesticides will result in chemical inhalation. Similarly, eating fruit and vegetables that haven’t been properly washed can lead to pesticide ingestion. An indirect manner of ingesting pesticides occurs when hands are not washed after touching the chemicals and then food is eaten with those contaminated hands. The level of toxicity, mode of entry into the body and frequency of entry in the body will determine just how badly one’s health will be affected.
Symptoms of Pesticide Exposure
The immediate symptoms of pesticide exposure include headache, dizziness, nausea, sore throat, weight loss, eye irritation, loss of appetite, nervousness, skin irritation, and more. If you know that you were recently exposed to pesticides and experience any of these symptoms, go to an emergency room. It will help them to know exactly what type of pesticide you handled or ingested.
With that said, there are numerous conditions that appear years after exposure. Examples of DDT exposure include cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive issues. Thanks to the recent study, it’s clear that pesticide exposure can destroy your sense of smell as well.
What to Do When You’ve Been Exposed to Pesticides
The same scientists that followed farm workers for 20 years developed protocols regarding pesticide exposure. They discovered that the longer workers went without washing their hands after leaving the field, the worse their exposure. That being said, if you believe you have touched something that contained even a small amount of pesticide, immediately wash your hands with hot water and plenty of soap.
Pesticide Exposure and Workers Compensation
Although washing your hands will help with immediate exposure to pesticides, what happens when you’ve been subject to years of toxic pesticide exposure, such as farm workers? It may take some time for the symptoms of this exposure to appear. Farm workers are the most likely to end up with serious, health complications due to their long-term exposure. Any on-the-job injury, even years after the fact are potential workers compensation claims.
If your exposure to chemicals resulted in health issues, call me today and I’ll Make Them Pay!®