Can you feel it? It's an incredible feeling!
DO PESTICIDES WORK?
Percentage increase of U.S. pesticide use
since 1940: 3,000%.
Percentage increase of potency of pesticides
since 1940: 1,000%.
Percentage of U.S. crops lost to insects in
Percentage of U.S. crops lost to insects
Diets rich in meat and low in fruits and vegetables may
increase the risk of colon cancer, concludes a new report.
The dietary pattern associated with the greatest
increase in risk is the one which typifies a Western-style diet," say
researchers led by Dr. Martha Slattery of the University of Utah Medical
Center in Salt Lake City.
According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer
kills over 46,000 people every year in the United States, making it the
country's second leading cause of cancer death, after lung cancer."
NEW YORK (Reuters Health)
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Protect Future Generations
"We have not inherited the Earth from our fathers,
we are borrowing it from our children."- Lester Brown
The average child receives four times more exposure
than an adult to at least eight widely used cancer-causing pesticides in
food. Food choices you make now will impact your child's future health.
The US Soil Conservation Services estimates that more
than 3 billion tons of topsoil are eroded from the United States'
croplands each year. That means soil is eroding seven times faster than
it is being built up naturally.
Soil is the foundation of the food chain in organic
farming. But in conventional farming, the soil is used more as a medium
for holding plants in a vertical position so they can be chemically
fertilized. As a result, American farms are suffering from the worst
soil erosion in history.
Water makes up two-thirds of our body mass and covers
three-fourths of the planet. The US Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) estimates pesticides-some cancer causing- contaminate the
groundwater in 38 states, polluting the primary source of drinking water
for more than half the country's population.
American farms have changed drastically in the last
three generations, from family-based small businesses dependent on human
energy to large-scale factory farms. Modern farming uses more petroleum
than any other single industry, consuming 12 percent of the USA's total
energy supply in the early 1990's. More energy is now used to produce
synthetic fertilizers than to till, cultivate and harvest all the crops
in the United States of America.
Organic farming is still mainly based on
labor-intensive practices such as weeding by hand and using green
manure's and crop covers rather than synthetic fertilizers to build up
Chemicals Off Your Plate
Many pesticides approved for use by the EPA were
registered long before extensive research linking these chemicals to
cancer and other diseases had been established. Now the EPA considers
that 60 percent of all herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides and 30
percent of all insecticides are carcinogenic.
A 1987 National Academy of Sciences report estimated
that pesticides might cause an extra 1.4 million cancer cases among
The bottom line is that pesticides are poisons designed to kill living
organisms and can also be harmful to you.
In addition to cancer, pesticides are implicated in birth defects, nerve
damage and genetic mutation.
A US National Cancer Institute study found that
farmers exposed to herbicides had a six times greater risk than
non-farmers of contracting cancer. In California, reported pesticides
poisoning among farm workers has risen an average of 14% a year since
1973 and doubled between 1975-1985. Field workers suffered the highest
rates of occupational illness in the state.
Farm worker health also is a serious problem in
developing nations, where pesticides use can be poorly regulated. an
estimated million people are poisoned annually by pesticides.
Although more and more large-scale farms are making
conversion to organic practices, most organic farms are small
independently owned family farms of less than 100 acres.
It's estimated that the US has lost more than 650,000
family farms in the past decade. And with the US Department of
Agriculture predicting that half of this country's farm produce will
come from 1 percent of farms, by the year 2,000, organic farming could
be one of the few survival tactics left for family farms.
Support A True Economy
Although organic foods might seem more expensive than
conventional foods, conventional food prices in the US and elsewhere do
not reflect hidden costs born by taxpayers. In the USA these included
nearly $74 billion in federal subsidies in 1988 alone. Other hidden
costs include pesticide regulation and testing, hazardous waste disposal
and cleanup, and environmental damage.
Author Gary Null says "If...you add in the real
environmental and social costs of irrigation to a head of lettuce, its
price can range between $2 and $3 dollars more.
Mono-cropping is the practice of planting large plots
of land with the same crop year after year. While this approach tripled
farm production between 1950-1970, the lack of natural diversity of
plant life has left the soil lacking in natural minerals and nutrients.
To replace the nutrients, chemical fertilizers are being used, often in
increasingly dangerous amounts.
Single crops are much more susceptible to pests,
making farmers more reliant on pesticides. Despite a tenfold increase in
the use of pesticides between 1947 and 1974, crop losses due to insects
have doubled- partly because some insects have become genetically
resistant to certain pesticides.
There's a good reason why many chefs use organic foods
in their recipes- they taste better! Organic farming starts with the
nourishment of the soil, which eventually leads to the nourishment of
the plant, and ultimately, to the nourishment of our well-being.
Share this info with someone who cares about Mother Earth.