We know that large-scale pesticide treatments are harmful to human beings, and research has already linked agricultural pesticides to autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
But Dr. Christine Parks wondered whether there was any risk from lower level use of pesticides. She and her research team at the National Institute of Environmental Health Services found health data on around 77,000 postmenopausal women, including their use of lower levels of pesticides at home or in commercial residences. The data showed that:
â€¢ Risk of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis was higher in women who used insecticides
â€¢ The risk was doubled for women who used the most insecticides.
So think before you take out the spray can. If you decide you must use it, keep others away and hold your breath, or better, wear a mask. Then open the windows, turn on fans and air your house out for a few hours afterwards. Eat dinner outside if you have to.
Consider whether your home really needs a whole-house pest treatment.
One of my patients chose a pest company using a â€˜totally naturalâ€™ product, and couldnâ€™t figure out why she was continually ill for six months afterwards: aches, dizziness, ongoing nausea, and catching every cold and flu around.
It was only when my patient became ill after her friend sprayed a spider to death that she saw the light. Since then, she hasnâ€™t used a bug spray for the last 5 years, and lives relatively pest-free.
And for heavenâ€™s sake, please donâ€™t use one of those sweet-looking time-release bug sprays that are now on the market. I donâ€™t know what those companies were thinking when they developed those products!