What are the Dangers of Pesticide Residue?

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  • Written By: Helena Reimer
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2019
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The dangers of pesticide residue include skin and eye irritations, hormonal problems, birth defects and cancer. Some of the health problems, such as skin and eye irritations, can be seen immediately after coming in contact with the chemicals. Others, such as cancer, can take several years before symptoms are experienced. Pesticide residue can be ingested from fresh produce and other foods, absorbed through the skin or inhaled from airborne pesticides.

Pregnant mothers and those planning on becoming pregnant should be aware of the dangers of pesticide residue and take extra measures to protect themselves and their baby. Studies show that exposure to pesticides can result in infertility problems, birth defects and fetal death. In addition, the dangers of pesticide residue pose a greater threat for young children because their bodies are smaller and require a smaller amount of toxins to bring about negative health effects.

The use of pesticide on lawns puts pets, wild animals and young children who play on the lawn at a greater risk for exposure to the pesticides. The residue is easily absorbed into the skin and can cause a rash, as well as nausea, upset stomach, headaches and even unconsciousness. Airborne pesticides generally are inhaled or absorbed through the skin, and they can contribute to irritated eyes, skin and lungs.


The pesticide on produce and other food can cause many digestive problems after it has been ingested. Pesticides have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, attention deficit disorder, hormonal imbalances and damage to the nervous system. They also can affect organ functions, such as those of the the kidneys, liver, lungs, adrenal glands and pituitary gland.

Household pesticide products such as insect sprays and powders, insect repellents and mosquito coils also are loaded with harmful pesticides. These generally are inhaled and can cause irritation to the respiratory system and eyes. Insect repellent lotions are easily absorbed into the skin and can cause a rash or other symptoms.

Being aware of the dangers of pesticide residue and how one is exposed to them is the first step in reducing the risk of exposure. Eliminating or at least reducing the amount of pesticides used around the house is a good way to protect oneself and small children from the dangers of pesticide residue. Purchasing organic produce is a good way to avoid pesticide ingestion. In cases when organic produce is not available, washing the produce thoroughly is the next best option.


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