Pesticides – Tumour Risks In Houseplant Pesticides

Recently I have written articles about the danger of chemicals we use everyday in our homes, and last week about the amount of additives used in food and drink, especially where children are concerned.

Now is the time of year when we actively look after pot plants and green houses, trying to keep them free from a range of different pests, but you might think twice now before reaching for one of the readily available pesticides.

A new study has been carried out on using pesticides on house plants has suggested that this could more than double your chance of developing a brain tumour.

In Britain there are around 5,000 people diagnosed each year with brain tumours, while some of these can be removed with surgery, others can cause death quickly.

The study said that those who used fly sprays, weed killers and other chemical treatment sprays on their pot plants were also 2.25 times more likely to develop brain cancer.

Researchers say that little is actually known about the causes of most brain tumours but in this study, which is one of the biggest of its kind suggests that chemicals found in pesticides play a role.

During the study 200 male and female patients who had brain tumours were asked about their use of pesticides at work and at home in the past. This was then compared to the answers of given by a healthy group of similar upbringing and age. The results found were that those who had used houseplant pesticides were more than twice as likely to have developed a brain tumour.

I find this quite alarming, as I am a great lover of houseplants and over the years have used many different sprays myself. I have always taken great care not to have the children or pets around when I have used these, but had not given a great thought to how long these chemicals are actually in the atmosphere for in an enclosed area!

Over the past couple of years I have been much more conscientious about chemicals and now just use good old soapy water to kill any pests that come onto my plants. I have found this to be just as effective.

A good way of reducing pests on your houseplants is to make sure they do not become too stressed, as a stressed plant is a good host. Make sure they are well watered and fed, have a good air supply and that they are potted up when needed.

If a plant needs re-potting, and you do not really want to go to a larger pot or do not have the space. Carefully remove the plant, lay it on its side and fork out some of the roots, trim these back and re-pot using fresh media to re-fill the pot.

The study also found a clear link between pesticide use at work and ill health, and worryingly that farm workers overall had a 30 per cent greater risk of developing a brain tumour, with those who had used pesticides the most had more than twice the risk.

The figures suggested that those with a high level of exposure to pesticides occupationally are associated with an excess risk of brain tumours. Those who used houseplant sprays were shown to have an increased risk of brain tumours, with great concern being that these sprays are recommended for weekly use, in confined environments.

Perhaps if you really do need to use a chemical spray, taking the plants outside might be less risky.

I hope you found this interesting and informative

Sandra & Ted