If you eat organic foods, use chemical-free products in your home, and stay away from highly polluted areas, you should be protected from chemical-related health issues, right?

Unfortunately, no.

A new study conducted in Italy found that the agricultural pesticides in heavily sprayed fields like apple orchards and vineyards frequently drift to nearby public places, like playgrounds.

Key Findings

  • 71 public playgrounds located next to intensively managed conventional agriculture areas were monitored.
  • Nearly half of the monitored playgrounds (45%) were contaminated by at least one pesticide, and a quarter (24%) by more than one.
  • 11 of the 12 detected pesticides are classified as “endocrine-active,” which can alter early development and have long-term detrimental effects.
  • Results show that the distance between playgrounds and agricultural areas should be at least 100m, though strong wind conditions could drift pesticides over 300mm and possibly further.

These results suggest that even consumption of an organic diet does not necessarily exempt people from pesticide exposure, as pesticides are able to waft on air to nearby public areas. The study concludes by explaining that pesticide contamination may continue to increase over the course of the crop season.

This study’s conclusions highlight the wide-reaching consequences of intensive pesticide use on unsuspecting populations and creates a more holistic picture of the cost of using pesticides that goes beyond the food system.

This is in addition to what is already known about pesticide effects on water quality, biodiversity, and climate. The only way to prevent the spread of endocrine disrupting chemicals is to move to a regenerative organic agricultural system that removes synthetic pesticides from the equation altogether.

Read the full study here