May 24, 2024

April 7, 2024 is World Health Day. The World Health Organization states that this year’s theme “My health, my right” was chosen “to champion the right of everyone, everywhere to have access to quality health services, education, and information, as well as safe drinking water, clean air, good nutrition, quality housing, decent working and environmental conditions, and freedom from discrimination”.
Information education campaigns are regularly conducted by governments on disease prevention and control. We do our part by keeping ourselves constantly updated. Sources of information are our healthcare providers, media, and books.

There is an increasing incidence of pancreatic adenocarcinoma worldwide. It is a type of cancer that is usually difficult to diagnose until late, is difficult to treat, and in the majority of cases it has a bad prognosis.
It is predicted by the National Cancer Institute in the United States that pancreatic cancer can become the second leading cause of cancer by 2030.
The causes are still poorly understood and a subject of research. Risk factors frequently cited are obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus, chronic inflammation of the pancreas, mutations, and smoking but direct cause-and-effect relationship is not definitely established.
Studies suggest that exposure to pesticides may also have a role.
France which reported about 16,000 new cases in 2023 and an annual two percent increase in incidence is the largest consumer of pesticides in Europe.
Brugal and associates in two French studies showed that from 2011 to 2021 there were 134,000 cases of pancreatic cancer. They showed an increased risk for pancreatic cancer associated with specific substances in pesticides – sulfur in spray form, mancozeb, and glyphosate. Other studies have looked at the role of several other pesticides as well.
Pesticides are widely used to protect crops against weeds, fungi, insects and other pests hence their use is largely unavoidable. Some pesticides have been banned from use but some of these are still being used.
We are all exposed to pesticides directly or indirectly through contaminated food, water or air. It has been shown that residues are present in the environment like in soil or water for years. Chemical residues may accumulate in our body and can cause harm. From information culled from different websites, these steps may help reduce pesticides from food and water that we consume:
Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may minimize our exposure to a single pesticide.
Thoroughly wash in running water (control the tap to conserve water) instead of simply soaking or dumping fruits and vegetables in water.
Pesticides are fat soluble and residues reside in fatty tissue, so trimming off visible fat from meat products may reduce exposure.
A study done by Kamonrat Phopin et al in Thailand showed that boiling, blanching, and stir-frying are cooking methods that markedly reduce pesticide residues in vegetables. In stir-frying though, we have to choose the oil we use to avoid heart and other vascular diseases.

Organic farming and growing our own backyard garden are directly helpful and beneficial ways to help us avoid chemical residues.