Steer clear of pesticides, inside and out
That flawless red apple and your lush jade lawn may make you sick. The effects of many pesticides have not been studied, while others have been classified as carcinogens—and the farmers who work closely with them have higher rates of skin, lip, stomach, lung, brain, blood and lymphatic system cancers. While the most notorious bug killers, like DDT, have been outlawed in the U.S., other countries continue to use them and then export their produce to the U.S. "If you can't peel it, you should probably buy organic," says Janssen. "Even after washing items like berries or peppers, you may be unable to get the pesticides off." If you're unable to purchase organic (items with the USDA organic seal), Food News provides a lists of the "Clean 15" (90 percent of sweet corn tested had no pesticides) and "The Dirty Dozen" (96 percent of peaches tested positive for pesticides) to help you make smart choices at the supermarket.
To keep your garden natural, target problem areas instead of blasting your entire property with potentially harmful chemicals. Or try Integrated Pest Management, a simple, inexpensive and ecological way to lower the instances of pests without using chemical pesticides. Integrated Pest Management has been widely adopted by schools, businesses and individuals.