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Common Insecticide Chemicals Adversely Affect Biological Clocks, Bump Up Metabolic Disease Risk

The adverse health effects of synthetic chemicals usually found in common household or agricultural products like insecticides are being revealed. A new research from the University at Buffalo adds another reason why it's best to steer clear from these types of chemicals at all cost.

What Are Insecticides

Insecticides are actually a type of pesticide specific to insects.

They are frequently used in agriculture, industrial, public health, and household setting to ward off or totally eliminate undesirable bugs, such as roaches, mosquitoes, and termites.

Other forms of pesticides include herbicides (non-beneficial plants or weeds), fungicides (molds, mildew, and rust), rodenticides (rats, mice, gophers), algaecides (algae), disinfectants and antimicrobials (bacteria and viruses).

Insecticides are available in various formulations and ways of applications. Some of these include sprays, baits, and slow-release diffusion.

According to EPA, the most commonly used insecticides are the organophosphates, pyrethroids, and carbamates.

Based on a 2001 report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) insecticides accounted for 12 percent of total pesticides applied to the surveyed crops. Corn and cotton, on the other hand, account for the largest shares of insecticide use in the United States.

The Effects Of Insecticides On Human Health

A study published in Chemical Research in Toxicology discovered alarming health consequences humans are at risk of when exposed to active chemical ingredients in insecticides.

"No one was thinking that the melatonin system was affected by these compounds, but that's what our research shows," Marina Popovska-Gorevski, co-author, now a scientist with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, stated.

"We found that both insecticides are structurally similar to melatonin and that both showed affinity for the melatonin, MT2 receptors, that can potentially affect glucose homeostasis and insulin secretion," Popovska-Gorevski said. "That means that exposure to them could put people at higher risk for diabetes and also affect sleeping patterns," she added.

Funded by a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, under the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the study centers on two chemicals: carbaryl (which despite being banned in many countries, is currently the third most extensively used insecticide in the United States), and carbofuran (which is considered as the most lethal carbamate insecticide prohibited from all forms of applications on food crops for human consumption since 2009).

How To Reduce Pesticide Exposure

Pesticides are everywhere, but with a conscious effort, it's possible to reduce risks of being exposed to them. Go for green and chemical-free alternatives when addressing pest issues at home or garden.

Opt for organic fruits and vegetables. Diet plays a big part, too, since most crops in the country are notorious for being heavily sprayed with chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

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