An integrative approach to healing ourselves and our world: honoring people, plants, planet

Posts tagged ‘organic farming’

Pesticides? Herbicides? NO!

Dinky caution sign

Yesterday I was walking my dog to the Daily’s Coop in Athens, GA to get my local eggs and vegetables. Fay, my dog, stopped in front of a business and started rolling all around in a spot on the grass. I couldn’t see a dead animal carcass, so I didn’t stop her. She was enjoying herself. Then I noticed spots of the lawn were a funny, fake blue-green color. I turned to my right, and there, on the edge of the lawn, was a dinky sign informing the public that the lawn has been treated with toxic chemicals and children and pets should stay away. Oh. That’s nice.

Herbicide caution sign

First of all, the herbicides they used do not stop at the lawn. During last night’s rain the chemicals were washed into our water treatment system. Secondly, whoever was paid to spray the chemical is also being poisoned. And last, it should be required for pesticide companies, and businesses and homeowners who choose to poison the place, to post bigger noticeable signs with a skull and crossbones when they do poison the neighborhood.

I forgot to mention why they were using the poison in the first place. It was on the cute little clovers! Trifolium repens “is considered to be a beneficial component of natural or organic lawn care due to its ability to fix nitrogen and out compete lawn weeds. Natural nitrogen fixing reduces leaching from the soil and can reduce the incidence of some lawn diseases that are enhanced by the availability of synthetic fertilizer” (The Organic Lawn Care Manual, Tukey, Storey Publishing. p 183.; Wikipedia). In this case, nature is healing the lawn, but the health practitioner who occupies the property doesn’t understand that.

Trifolium repens, white clover

If humans were wise, we would use our sophisticated ways of knowing, i.e. science, and choose actions that did not hurt ourselves. We would know that working with nature’s processes is CHEAPER and HEALTHIER than pesticides. Instead, we give billions of dollars to a government that will force us to have health insurance because we are likely to develop heart disease and/or cancer from the toxic farming practices allowed at the expense of our (and our children’s+) livelihood for businesses to make money.

Pesticides, Herbicides, Fungicides in our Food

In addition to lawn spraying, we’re also soaking our food in the chemicals. The USA allows a lot of agricultural chemicals to be used in the growing, shipping, and preserving of our food. Even chemicals that have been banned in the USA, such as DDT, are showing up on our produce when tested by third parties. The main class of chemicals being used legally is called Organophosphates. They are also considered the most toxic. Organophosphates are cholinesterase inhibitors. Cholinesterase is an enzyme in the neuromuscular junctions. Some of the signs and symptoms of acute Organophosphate poisoning is: muscle weakness, tremors, anxiety, headaches, drowsiness, confusion, ataxia, hypotension, difficulty breathing, convulsions, coma, decreased sperm production, mutations, and infertility. This class of chemicals is linked to long-term illnesses such as Parkinson’s Disease, autoimmune diseases such as Lupus, ADHD, neurological disorders, female reproductive disorders and many cancers. Even 48 hours after exposure, when traces have left the blood, clinical signs can be noticed for weeks.

If you would like to research Organophosphates yourself, begin with http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxicprofiles/tp84-c2.pd. This is an enormous pdf from the CDC Division of Toxicology and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry about the health consequences of agricultural chemicals from scientific studies. Look at Chlorpyrifos, which is a common Organophosphate. Not a nice chemical that we want on our food.

We are the Experiment

New scientific studies are finding that long-term exposure or ingestion of these chemicals, especially mixed with multiple other chemicals, are causing disease. We need to urge American farmers to use health-promoting practices, not health-degrading practices.

Educate Yourself

An excellent and frightening resource for the facts on pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc is the Pesticide Action Network http://www.panna.org/
And Pesticide Action Network Database http://www.pesticideinfo.org/

A really good book about modern American slave labor is Nobodies by John Bowe. You would not believe what is behind the very popular orange. http://www.amazon.com/Nobodies-Modern-American-Global-Economy/dp/1400062098

You can also look up Coalition of Immokalee Workers http://www.ciw-online.org/

If you go to PubMed (this is a free database of scientific, peer-reviewed journal articles paid for by USA tax dollars and developed by NIH and NLM), search ‘farmworkers’ AND ‘pesticides’.  You’ll find lots of terrible side effects of agricultural chemicals, and the poor outcome for farmworkers who are exposed to these chemicals.

The way for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. Let’s do something.


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