>> Thursday, March 11, 2010
Image via WikipediaPesticides are an amazingly large problem in our society because, in general, they're invisible. Modern pesticides are made of all sorts of chemical combinations that may or may not be tested in any real degree. From the layman perspective, what humanity is doing is using these poisons in usually-light doses in order to kill off bugs and weeds, or reduce or eliminate other crop-destroying elements. This, then results in a larger crop for more profit, right?
Unfortunately, as many of us already know, that's far from the end of the story. The effects of the poisons are often farther reaching than is expected, as we have now discovered oceanic dead zones stretching far out from the mouths of rivers into which the pesticides have been carried into. We have found out that pesticides can and are wreaking havoc on various forms of wildlife, from frogs to bees. And we have found that even at birth, our bodies are already "infected" with varying amounts of toxins.
The long-term effects of pesticides have finally caught up with us, but we haven't really caught on.
Are you aware that conventional almonds typically contain multiple, known carcinogens and neurotoxins? Regular oranges - and orange juice - have both of those as well as a good dash of things like imazalil, a developmental and reproductive toxicant. I've seen this with my own eyes. Strawberries have so much of all of the above, that you'd almost be better off not knowing. In that case, ignorance is bliss, but a deadly bliss.
How can you know what's safe to eat? Do you just mark off the top few foods that are most important to eat organically? Perhaps, if you feel really strapped for cash or are just getting the hang of it, but the more you think about it, the less you will want to buy conventional produce. A site that I like to refer back to when researching produce is WhatsOnMyFood.org, and they put it quite eloquently:
Does eating organic make a difference? When researchers compared the levels of pesticide breakdown products in the bodies of children who eat organic and conventional diets, they found children who eat mostly organic foods carry fewer pesticides in their bodies. The good news is that some of these pesticides break down fairly quickly, which means increasing your consumption of organic foods can have an immediate impact on your pesticide exposure levels.If you have an iPhone, WhatsOnMyFood has an app for you so that you can look these things up on the fly. FoodNews.org also has a quick-and-dirty lookup program for the iPhone. If for some reason you'd rather not install an app like this, or have a different kind of internet smartphone, the easiest thing to do is just do a quick search on Wikipedia's mobile site for the ingredient in question, when you're looking at a product. It's not as user-friendly as an app, and it doesn't easily do a reverse look-up by food like the apps, but it's useful in a pinch. Personally, if I had an iPhone, WhatsOnMyFood's app would already be installed.
By eating food produced organically or without pesticides, not only will you be reducing the amount of pesticide in your body, you will be helping create a better environment for other people, the planet, and future generations. By engaging in political action to change our food system, you'll be part of making sure that everyone can eat their meals without pesticides on the side.
It cannot be emphasized enough how eating local and organic foods is not only good for your body but also for the environment. Yes, some farmers who produce locally will also use pesticides, but when you're dealing with them directly, you can just ask them. You'll find out for sure, one way or another, and if it's the unfortunate case where the farmer uses them, then they'll have direct from-the-customer feedback that it matters. Therefore choose local and organic whenever possible by visiting your local farmer's markets or joining a CSA. Your body will thank you.
This article is part of Prevention Not Prescription at TheKathleenShow.com and Fight Back Friday at FoodRenegade.com