Posts Tagged ‘pesticides’

Pesticides Make Farmers Depressed. Literally.

October 18, 2008

Pesticides are poison. They are used to kill living creatures. In order to kill those living creatures, humans apply the pesticides. We also eat what’s left of them.

We’ve seen handlers of banana pesticide sterilized, a young couple who worked with pesticides give birth to a limbless child, and a pesticide singled out as a cause of Colony Collapse Disorder.

The latest research found among a group of farmers that long term application coincided with a 50% higher chance of clinical depression. And these men were “80% more likely [to have depression] if they had applied a class of insecticide called organophosphates.”

What about for those of us who eat small doses of them everyday? Direct contact to the targeted lifeform causes death. Direct contact with humans who administer them causes major reproductive issues, birth defects, and depression. So what happens when you come in contact with a lower amount of pesticides daily by eating them?

Because of the widespread medical conditions that have resulted from high exposure to pesticides, one can only assume they must hurt consumers in varied and unpredictable ways as well. What about those nagging symptoms that won’t go away or a diagnosis that you can’t explain? Could pesticides and chemicals be contributing to or causing your problem? Even law firms are ready to back you up if your doctor won’t. Steigerwalt & Associates know “that as science developed more sophisticated pesticides they did not take in to account the long term affects of these chemicals on the environment and surrounding human populations. Some common side effects of pesticide poisoning include cancer, birth defects, and fertility problems.”

Choosing organic is the best option when it comes to avoiding chemicals in your food; this ensures the food has not been grown with chemical pesticides. The Environmental Working Group tested produce to see just how much was found on the food at the store and compiled a list for consumers to use when buying produce. This list can be used to choose which fruits and vegetables to choose when organic is not available, or which are safest and may not require the organic alternative.

It’s a tough time to live in when the price of a Happy Meal from McDonald’s is about the same price as one organic apple. It can seem like a hard choice to make when choosing between these options. It’s not as hard if you realize that you’re choosing between either saving money now or investing in your family’s health and future (and probably lowering your cost of future medical bills).

Bee Killing Pesticide Banned in 2 Countries, Still US Approved

September 12, 2008

For over 2 years, the science community and the general public have been baffled at the disappearance of honeybees. Several theories have been pondered; About.com: Insects suspects 10. Maybe they are all true, but one has been nailed down.

Germany and France have both been compelled to ban the pesticide clothianidin (commonly called Poncho). It is used deliberately to deter and kill insects that would interfere with food production, but it is now so strongly associated with the Colony Collapse Disorder, France and Germany have banned its use. Just as poisons are not programmed to act against specific lifeforms, but instead work on most (arsenic, anyone?), pesticides kill. Although used for specific purposes, their effects are far reaching.

Even though the Environmental Protection Agency has acknowledged that this pesticide is harmful to bees, it has not banned the pesticide. It also has not released results of studies it supposedly required the manufacturer of the chemical to submit when it approved the chemical for use by Bayer (yes, the makers of Aspirin) in the US in 2003. And for this violation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is suing.

In a time when humans are supposedly experiencing a major food shortage (although it is more currently a food distribution problem), how are we to react when a government agency made to protect us is seemingly more interested in protecting a corporation’s profits?

In Germany, not only has the pesticide been banned, but an organization called Coalition Against Bayer Dangers actually gets to sue Bayer for marketing the dangerous pesticide. Looks like our EPA might not only get sued for not disclosing its information on the pesticide, but could also get sued for approving it.

Let’s hope this all leads to bringing some bees back. But pesticides have a history of sticking around long after their use..

The Organic Advantage

February 21, 2008

A recent UK government report found that chickens raised in the widespread, non-organic fashion, have a 23.4% chance of being contaminated with salmonella, a bacteria responsible for food poisoning. The chance of an organic flock having salmonella? Only 4.4%.

What’s the difference between how the chickens are raised?

Organic chickens must have “access to outdoor ranges and pasture, with an emphasis on enabling the animals to express their natural behaviour.” Sounds pretty reasonable.

The non-organic chickens are mostly housed in cages which allow each individual bird the space of a standard sheet of paper. Yes, the 8 1/2 X 11 kind. These birds are also given antibiotics, which not only help to create superbugs and weaken the birds’ immune systems, but they potentially have the same effect on you when you eat the chicken or its eggs.

So, non-organic animals are likely to be raised under harsh conditions and administered antibiotics and hormones (the run-off of which create mutated fish), but what about non-organic fruits and vegetables?

Non-organic fruits and vegetables are grown with synthetic pesticides and fertilizer. So what? Well, studies are showing that more than 90% of children in the US “have detectable residues of at least one neurotoxic pesticide in their urine.” Something is called neurotoxic when it is poisonous to your brain and nervous system.

According to Dr. Mercola, pesticides also contribute to “disruption of the endocrine system, carcinogenicity and immune system suppression. Pesticide exposure may also affect male reproductive function and has been linked to miscarriages in women.”

How can we avoid them? According to a study outlined in a 2003 Environmental Health Perspectives article, children “eating organic fruits and vegetables had six times lower levels of pesticide byproducts in their blood versus children eating conventional produce.

Anytime that pesticide is found on organic produce, it is either because pesticides have drifted from a nearby non-organic farm or the produce has been contaminated by “long-ago banned pesticides that linger in the environment.” So the effects of pesticide use are extremely long term!

Besides helping you to avoid dangerous pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones, choosing organics also supplies you with more nutrients. Those organically raised chickens we just discussed lay eggs which, according to a Mother Earth News, contain:

1⁄3 less cholesterol
1⁄4 less saturated fat
2⁄3 more vitamin A
2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
3 times more vitamin E
7 times more beta carotene

That’s a huge difference! And the non-organic produce has roughly 17% less nutrients than as its organic counterpart.

If organics are not in your area, you can use this list, compiled by the Environmental Working Group, which shows how much pesticide is likely to be on a given fruit or vegetable, so you can choose those with the least contamination.

While it is better to eat fruits and vegetables with pesticides instead of processed foods, those who eat organically will have a healthy advantage.

Farm Workers Sterilized by Banana Pesticide

November 7, 2007

Farm workers in Nicaragua were poisoned and sterilized by dibromo chloropropane, a pesticide made by Dow Chemical for use on Dole banana plantations. On November 5th, a jury awarded them $3.3 million dollars.

This particular pesticide has been banned in both the U.S. and Nicaragua, but has had long term effects on those who were in daily contact with the poison. Dole was using the pesticide on its plantations in Nicaragua until 1993, so many people still have this pesticide in their bodies and may be experiencing health problems due to its consumption.

Other pesticides are in wide use in non-organic food, and bans on their use seem to only occur once the damage is widespread. Legal pesticides have been linked with Parkinson’s and premature birth.

The Environmental Working Group conducted a study to find out just how many pesticides were used on individual types of produce and ranked them according to their average number of pesticides. They found up to 11 pesticides on an individual piece of produce. Peaches and apples were found out to be the worst. View the report here.

It is not always possible to purchase organic fruit and vegetables, but this list makes it easier to choose produce based on which types are most likely to be the least harmful.