I’ve been thinking a lot about the connection between pesticide exposure (or overexposure) and mast cell disease ever since my dear reader sent me some information on it along with her personal experience which I shared here recently.
I realized that pesticide (over) exposure may be what contributed to my disease and also may have triggered my MCAS to get worse in a really short time a few years ago.
Before I get to my own story, here’s some more research linking mast cell stimulation and pesticides, starting with one entitled:
Mediators from mast cells and basophils are important factors in allergic and inflammatory reactions. Release of histamine from rat mast cells and human basophils is demonstrated by stimulation with dieldrin, DDT, heptachlor, heptachlorepoxid and biphenyl.
Interestingly, here’s a study that shows that pesticides DON’T negatively affect our immune systems, (at least if you live in Europe and were part of this study):
In conclusion, pesticide exposure under various work place conditions in Europe was associated only with some subtle effects on the immune system, which may suggest that occupational exposure to pesticides does not influence the immunologic system in a clinically significant fashion, and does not pose a significant health risk to the exposed subjects.
Yeah, I’m not so sure about that.
A few years ago, before my symptoms really ramped up and my health took a nose dive, a client of mine who worked for the local crop duster company brought us a big jug of Monsanto’s best industrial strength weed killer to use in the never ending battle against the dandelions in our yard. We diluted it down to what was supposedly a “safe” level but I can’t help wondering now, looking back, if it contributed to my acceleration of symptoms.
At the same time, we were using pesticides out in the garden and inside to battle the hobo spiders that plagued us. Again, we followed the directions so it was supposedly “safe” but I can’t help wondering if that also contributed to my downfall. Was it a combination of the two?
I may never know but it does seem likely that exposure to these chemicals had a negative affect on my immune system and may have been a catalyst to triggering my MCAS to get worse. More research is needed in this area, that’s for sure.
As a result, I now try to find organic alternatives for weed and bug killing in order to limit my exposure. I have to do that with everything in my world from now on.