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DO PESTICIDES WORK?

You Decide...

  • 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 1941: 31%

  • Percentage of U.S. crops lost to insects today: 37%

 

 

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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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 Organic farming

 

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  Top
10 Reasons Buy Organic
...

1. 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.

2. Prevent Soil Erosion

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.

3. Protect Water Quality

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.

4. Save Energy

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 soil.

5. Keep 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 Americans. 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.

6. Protect Farm Workers

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.

7. Help Small Farmers

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.

 

8. 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.

 

9. Promote Bio-diversity

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.

 

10. Taste Better Foods

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.

 


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