Researchers Dismayed by Unhealthy Levels of Pesticides in Americans

According to a newly released report by the Pesticide Action Network (PAN), many U.S. residents carry unhealthy levels of pesticides in their bodies, with children, women and Mexican-Americans disproportionately exposed to the toxic chemicals.

In a study of more than 2,648 people tested for levels of 34 pesticides, PAN scientists analyzed data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study—called “Chemical Trespass: Pesticides in Our Bodies and Corporate Accountability”—found that a large percentage of people who had their blood and urine tested carried pesticides above levels considered safe by government health and environmental agencies.

“The pesticide body burden data represents a failure of our approach to how we protect people from toxic pesticides,” says Kristin Schafer, PAN’s program coordinator. “We really hope that it will help us move toward a different system of how we control pests in agriculture and all other areas.”

San Francisco-based PAN, which advocates for alternatives to conventional pest control, found that the average person in the study carried 13 of the 23 pesticides they evaluated. Many of the pesticides have been linked to infertility, birth defects, cancer and other serious health ailments.