People living in Europe have been advised to limit their exposure to pesticides, which are often sprayed on crops to help control weeds.
People living in Australia and the United States are being advised to take extra precautions.
The European Union’s Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has advised that people living in Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland to reduce their exposure as well.
There is no evidence to show that pesticides are linked to skin cancer, EFSA says in a statement, but some research suggests that their residues may have a role in the development of it.
The EFSA also warned that there is “considerable uncertainty” about the long-term health effects of pesticide use on human beings, but suggested that it would be best for people to avoid the use of pesticides.
In Australia, there are no guidelines on when to use pesticides, and most farmers do not apply them regularly.
Dr Richard McBride from the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (IESH) in Sydney, told the ABC that people should not get pregnant from consuming pesticides.
“They are extremely toxic, and in many cases they do cause birth defects,” he said.
“It’s not just the residues but also the way they’re processed that causes them to be absorbed into the tissues of the mother, and so in terms of the effects of the chemicals they’re absorbed into mother’s system.”
The IESH is advising people to use insect repellent when spraying pesticides and to avoid eating them.
“Insect repellents contain active ingredients that act on receptors that are present in the skin,” IESH spokesperson Emma Thompson said.
“These receptors are found in the mouth, and the skin is a very sensitive area.”
These active ingredients can be absorbed through the skin and cause irritation and allergic reactions to the person who is applying them.
“She said people should also be careful with the use and consumption of pesticides, as they can be used in combination with other substances.”
We recommend against the use or consumption of certain products that contain these chemicals, and we suggest that those who use these products avoid using them for long periods of time,” Ms Thompson said, adding that “insect repelling” should be a top priority.
She said the risk of cancer was high, with about a third of Australians aged 20-39 diagnosed with the disease.”
Pesticides are a major cause of skin cancer in humans,” Dr Thompson said in the statement.”
The skin is particularly vulnerable to the effects that these chemicals can have on the cells in the tissues that they penetrate, and it can also cause cancer.
“So if you think about how chemicals are applied to plants, that means that if you are applying pesticides to plants or you’re spraying chemicals on crops, it’s very likely that you are also affecting the health of those who are growing the plants or in those crops.”
She recommended that people consider “alternative methods of protecting themselves”.
“Pest control should be done in a way that does not impact on the environment and does not affect the health or wellbeing of the people who are using it,” Dr McBride said.
In Germany, the government has been urged to ban the use in food of all pesticides except for organophosphates, a class of pesticides that are found primarily in pesticides and herbicides.
The Federal Environment Agency said it was aware of no scientific evidence linking organophophosphate pesticides to skin or hair damage.
“For these reasons, the Federal Environment Ministry is considering a ban of the use for food and agriculture of all organic or genetically modified ingredients,” it said in a press release.
“As an alternative, the Government of Germany has adopted the Food Safety Act and adopted its own organic food and farming practices.”
In Australia there is no national policy on pesticides and there is not a national ban.
“This has been a topic of considerable discussion in Australia,” Dr Anderson said.
“Australia is currently seeing a rise in the use, especially of synthetic pesticides, particularly the use on organic crops and in gardens.”
The National Farmers Union of Australia has called for more regulation of the pesticides used to treat the garden, saying “we’re not going to allow ourselves to be dictated by a few companies”.
“We’ve had over 100 pesticides in Australia already that we have no control over, and they’re being sprayed on organic farms,” Mr Gee said.
The Victorian Government has launched an online survey asking people whether they want more government regulation of pesticides and if so, what it would look like.
The survey also asks about whether people would like to see a national standard for the sale of organic and non-organic products.