Arguably, yes. Pesticides, typically, are used in doses that don’t abruptly have repercussions on human health. Some have carcinogens that can cause cancers or others have less severe affects like irritation of hormone in fluctuation or decrease. Some just might bother your skin or eyes. One problem with pesticides that can pose a serious threat is the lack of regulation on imported goods that the FDA does not inspect. Many of the harmful pesticides that the U.S. has banned for use because of their threat to human health are still used in countries that we import our produce from.
Residues of pesticides in drinking water and food have contributed to illnesses and deaths among humans. While it is true that most dosages ingested are not potent enough to cause significant damage, up to 20,000 deaths are reported annually worldwide that are linked to an exposure to pesticides. Accidental exposure is more common among farmers and sray operators in developing countries who handle the chemicals carelessly or do not wear enough protective clothing.
As for food in the U.S., domestic food production is monitored by the EPA and imported food is regulated by the USDA’s health inspection service. The maximum tolerated dosagee of pesticides that can be used in food production without causing adverse effects in consumers is determined by scientists who test the chemicals on animals. They assume long-term exposure in calculating the acceptable exposure for a pesticide. Those, however, that have caused cancer in lab animals are “not granted tolerance.”
Exposure to pesticides can result in any number of symptoms and diseases that are grouped together under the umbrella term pesticide illness. Problems that can occur, depending on the type of pesticide and the amount of time exposed to it, include diarrhea, rashes, nausea, headache, vomiting, eye, skin, and throat irritation, asthma-like symptoms, cancers, birth defects, and damage to the immune system.
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