New York Homes are Full of Pesticides

Don’t get excited if you live outside New York.  I doubt we in Tennessee or other states are any better off.  This study out of Cornell University just happened to measure pesticide levels in New York state rural homes in order to assess safety for human health.  They examined 350 homes in 6 different counties searching for 15 “potentially toxic pesticides” which are commonly used in nearby agricultural practices.  Every house in the study was found to have some level of different pesticides.

The paper from the JSM Health Education and Primary Health Care by Joseph Laquatra eta al begins by describing how other studies have shown ill health effects on infants and children which include “cancer, birth defects, nervous system disorders, and endocrine system disorders.”  (4,5)  Other studies reveal harm to eye structures (7) or increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease (10). 

They emphasize that children may ingest large amounts of these pesticides due to their crawling on floors and hand-to-mouth behaviors.  Studies have documented how both shoes and bare feet along with clothing and airborne spread can bring these chemicals into homes (11,12).  Both agricultural and residential use residues follow these entry routes (13,14).   After entry, these residues may last longer since they are not exposure to outdoor elements like rain, sun and soil microbes (14). 

Study authors expressed concern that every home contained levels of pesticides.  They were also concerned that 5 different organophosphates were found in homes due to their known effects on kidney function (22).  Several specific pesticides that were found in homes are listed and their potential ill health effects described.  They concluded with urging homeowners to adopt cleaning practices which would reduce these pesticides but did not describe such practices in the article.

At Sanctuary, we consider these pesticide toxins and many other toxins as potential contributors to the chronic illnesses and unexplained symptoms our patients bring to us.  In our prolonged intake histories both online and in person, we dig into patient’s health stories to listen for any suggestion that a toxin may play a role in their illness.  If symptoms or exposure history suggest toxins as a trigger, we use specialty labs that can uncover these toxins.  Sometimes we find heavy metals spilling over from amalgams.  Sometimes we find children and adults with organic solvent exposures from hobby or occupational exposures.  Sometimes we find that patients are not being harmed by synthetic chemicals, but by biologically produced toxins like mycotoxins from mold. 

Regardless, after identification of the toxic trigger, we help the patients determine a plan to separate themselves from the exposure.  Without this critical first step, ongoing exposure will thwart nearly any detox protocol we might offer.  Once the exposure is eradicated, we can begin targeting the detox mechanisms of our amazing bodies.  At times, we boost the whole system.  At other times we utilized toxin specific therapies to open up exit doors.  During this process we also aim to support the body in healing from both the detox process and past damage. 

At the end, we see patients living healthier more abundant lives by getting the toxins out of their bodies.  Then we educate them so that they never allow such toxins to build up again and hopefully prevent the same from occurring to their next generation. Restoring and then preventing recurrence are keys to our patient’s health journeys.

Cornell University Site

Focus Article:  Laquatra J, Pierce M, Hedge A, Lemley A (2018) Common Pesticide Residues in Rural Homes of New York State. JSM Health Educ Prim Health Care 3(1): 1042.

Thanks to Science Daily:

Cornell University. “Harmful pesticides lurking in New York State homes.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 October 2018. <>.

Other article citations:

4. Thompson B, Griffith WC, Barr DB, Coronado GD, Vigoren EM, Faustman EM. Variability in the take-home pathway: Farm workers and non-farm workers and their children. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2014; 24: 522-531.

5. Babayigit MA, Tekbas OF, Cetin H. Public health effects of pesticides used in pest management and precautions for the protection.TAF Preventive Medicine Bulletin. 2014; 13: 405-412.

7. Jaga K, Dharmani C. Ocular toxicity from pesticide exposure: A recent review. Environ Health Prev Med. 2006; 11: 102-107.

10. Turner Michelle C, Donald T. Wigle, Daniel Krewski. “Residential pesticides and childhood leukemia: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Environ Health Perspect. 2010; 118: 33-41.

11. Lemley AT, Hedge A, Obendorf SK, Hong S, Kim J, Muss TM, et al. Selected pesticide residues in house dust from farmers’ homes in central New York State, USA. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 2002; 69: 155-163.

12. Nishioka MG, Burkholder HM, Brinkman MC, Gordon SM, Lewis RG. Measuring transport of lawn-applied herbicide acids from turf to home: correlation of dislodgeable 2, 4-D turf residues with carpet dust and carpet surface residues. Environ Sci Technol. 1996; 30: 3313- 3320.

13. Nishioka MG, Lewis RG, Brinkman MC, Burkholder HM, Hines CE, Menkedick JR. Distribution of 2,4-D in air and on surfaces inside residences after lawn applications: comparing exposure estimates from various media for young children. Environ Health Perspect. 2001; 109: 1185-1191.

14. Simcox NJ, Fenske RA, Wolz SA, Lee I, Kalman DA. Pesticides in household dust and soil: exposure pathways for children. Environ Health Perspect. 1995; 103: 1126-1134.

22. Georgiadis G, Mavridis C, Belantis C, Zisis IE, Skamagkas I, Fragkiadoulaki I, et al. Nephrotoxicity issues of organophosphates. Toxicology. 2018; 406-407: 129-136.

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