High levels of pesticides in imported food has been associated to chronic illnesses including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer, according to doctors. In May, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment banned the import of some fruits and vegetables over high chemical levels from five countries in the Middle East, according to The National.
Despite information that pesticide is strictly monitored and controlled within the United Arab Emirates (UAE), pesticides are used excessively in agriculture in other parts of the world. “Medical practitioners believe that consuming certain kinds of food may contribute to causing cancer,” said Dr. Yogash Shastri, a gastrologist at NMC (New Medical Center) Specialty Hospital in Abu Dhabi.
Disease Linked to Diet
“I have seen at least one person diagnosed with different types of cancer on a weekly basis and there have been no specific causes related to their family medical history, notes Dr. Shastri. The doctor related the case of a patient, age 45, who had colon cancer despite having no family history of the disease as well as leading a healthy vegetarian lifestyle, reports The National.
In addition, a 37-year-old woman from the Philippines with no family history of cancer was also diagnosed with the disease. “An unhealthy diet contributes to causing several chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis,” Dr. Shastri said.
Pesticides, especially those containing chlorine, are dangerous because the human body is not able to metabolize or process them. Chlorine is used to reduce the prevalence and numbers of pathogenic micro-organisms or bacteria in food.
Studies Involving Chlorine
Studies have been conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) to evaluate the potential health risk from chemical exposure compared to potential benefits of decreased health risk from pathogen (bacterium or virus) exposure. The extent of poisoning caused by chlorine depends on the amount of chlorine a person is exposed to, how the person was exposed, and the length of time of the exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
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“Many patients visit physicians complaining about abdominal pain,” said Dr. Shastri. “We do all the tests for them. Findings show no specific reasons. This is why doctors assume that the types of food consumed may have a relation.”
Doctors have documented an increase in cases of inflammatory bowel disease, which is the chronic inflammation of all or parts of the digestive tract. “The main cause of this disease is not known but we suspect that it is caused by hormones and pesticides,” Dr. Shastri said. He said future studies were being conducted to determine which hormones, pesticides or agents cause the disease, The National reports.
Pesticides accumulate to dangerous levels, and become magnified throughout the food chain. Toxins have been detected in products that range from meat, fish, and poultry, to vegetable oil, fruit, nuts, and vegetables.
Stomach Issues Related to Not Washing Fruits and Vegetables
A 21-year-old woman said she gave up eating animal meat after she was sick for several months. She had been through a number of medical procedures to diagnose the cause of her illness, but kept receiving conflicting, non-conclusive results. “After I stopped eating certain food, I now feel much better,” said Farah Al Ameer.
Another woman said she was especially careful about the food her three children ate. “I saw one of my sons eating fruits without washing it,” said Arwa Othman. “I told him this is not good for his health. A few weeks later, he suffered from a severe stomach pain.” The mother said doctors could not diagnose the reason for his pain, but her son now washed fruit and vegetables before eating them and since then, has not experienced stomach pain, reports The National.
A clinical dietician at Top Medical Clinic, Dr. Jane Darakjian, recommends that people go a step further and peel their fruit and vegetable. “Pesticides are among the main causes of health problems. Washing fruits and vegetables is not enough to get rid of pesticides. The best way is to peel the skin of some vegetables and fruits while others need to be washed deeply.”
People who are exposed to even low levels of glyphosate (a powerful pesticide) may have symptoms that include fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain, spider-like blood vessels, jaundice, fluid build-up, and swelling of the legs, reports the DailyMail.com.
Legal Help for Individuals Exposed to Chemicals
If you or someone you know has been injured by chemicals that may have caused a disease, you may have valuable legal rights. Parker Waichman LLP offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact the personal injury lawyers at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).