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Strawberries Remain at Top of Pesticide List, Report Says

An annual report by the Environmental Working Group found that nearly 70% of samples of 48 types of conventionally grown produce were contaminated with pesticide residues. That’s down 6.6 percentage points from last year.

The EWG Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, released Wednesday, ranks pesticide contamination of popular fruits and vegetables based on more than 36,000 samples of produce tested by the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

This year, strawberries remained at the top of the list of produce with the highest concentration of pesticides, while sweet corn and avocados were ranked as having the lowest concentration.

What are pesticides?

Pesticides are widely used in producing food to control pests such as insects, rodents, weeds, bacteria, mold and fungus. In addition to their uses in agriculture, pesticides are used to protect public health by controlling organisms that carry tropical diseases, such as mosquitoes.

Pesticides are potentially toxic to humans, according to the World Health Organization. They may have negative effects on reproduction, immune or nervous systems, cause cancer and lead to other problems.

Pesticide residue can remain on fruits and vegetables even after they are washed and, in some cases, peeled, according to the report.

However, a report by the USDA in 2014 found that “overall pesticide chemical residues on foods tested were at levels below the tolerances established by the Environmental Protection Agency” and were not a safety concern to consumers.

The Dirty Dozen

Produce that tested positive for various pesticides and contained higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce is featured on the list, known as the “Dirty Dozen.”

Starting with the highest amounts of pesticide residue, the list features strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, celery, grapes, pears, cherries, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers and potatoes.
Strawberries remained at the top of the list with at least 20 pesticides, while spinach jumped into the second spot with twice as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.

Americans eat nearly 8 pounds of fresh strawberries per person each year, and even when they are rinsed in the field and washed before eating, they are still most likely to be contaminated with pesticide residue, according to the Environmental Working Group.

In 2016, spinach was ranked eighth, but the latest numbers from the USDA showed a sharp increase in pesticide residues on non-organic spinach since the crop was last tested eight years ago.

The pesticides responsible for the residues included three fungicides and one insecticide called permethrin, which has been linked to tremors and seizures in the nervous systems of animals and insects.

The newest additions to the list were pears and potatoes, which replaced cherry tomatoes and cucumbers from last year.

The Clean Fifteen

Produce that had relatively fewer pesticides and lower total concentrations of pesticide residues was placed on the group’s “Clean Fifteen” list.

This list included, in order, sweet corn (including corn on the cob and frozen corn), avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, frozen sweet peas, papaya, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwis, cantaloupe, cauliflower and grapefruit.

Only 1% of samples showed any detectable pesticides in avocados and sweet corn, which were deemed the cleanest produce.

More than 80% of pineapples, papaya, asparagus, onions and cabbage that were sampled showed no pesticide residue.

Methodology

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit advocacy group, analyzed more than 36,000 samples taken by personnel at the USDA and the FDA who mimicked consumer practices by first washing or peeling the produce.

To compare the fruits and vegetables, the group came up with a composite score for each type of produce based on six measures of contamination. Some of the measures include the percent of the sample tested with detectable pesticides and the average number of pesticides found on a single sample.

Shopping smart

Nutrition experts support the findings and even use the list to make recommendations to their own patients.

“I believe that this is an important source of information,” said Corinne Bush, a clinical nutritionist who was not part of the research.

Bush warns that some pesticides that do not exceed thresholds established by the EPA can still be very harmful, since low-level exposure over time can have extremely damaging effects.

The Environmental Working Group recommends buying organic produce whenever possible to reduce exposure to pesticides.

“If you don’t want to feed your family food contaminated with pesticides, the EWG Shopper’s Guide helps you make smart choices, whether you’re buying conventional or organic produce,” Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst with the group, said in a news release.

“Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is essential no matter how they’re grown, but for the items with the heaviest pesticide loads, we urge shoppers to buy organic. If you can’t buy organic, the Shopper’s Guide will steer you to conventionally grown produce that is the lowest in pesticides.”

By Johanzynn Gatewood  (CNN)      Wed March 8, 2017
 


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Two Ways You And Your Family Can Help Minimize Your Cancer Risk

By: Care2 Healthy Living Guest Blogger David Benjamin    April 16, 2016

Disease affects all of our lives on some level or another. Our families are affected by it, our friends and co-workers too. Most people only see disease as either a distant potential future event, or something that affects their friends and family. Unfortunately, disease can become a part of our life overnight if we don’t take the right actions to live a healthy lifestyle each day.

Did you know that 41% of Americans are diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime? That’s right. In total, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women are diagnosed with cancer in America, and those numbers don’t even include heart disease, strokes, diabetes, obesity and other life-threatening diseases.

My grandfather died of colon cancer within less than a month of diagnosis, at the time I was only 11 years old and saw his rapid decline. That same year my mom was also diagnosed with colon cancer, thankfully she survived and found the right people and solutions that helped her heal and bring her health back. Three of my four grandparents have died of cancer. These experiences have impacted me greatly and have pushed me to read through the research on environmental factors that cause cancer.

Thankfully with the latest science we can do much more than we could even a decade ago to prevent cancer and reduce our risk of developing it, and we’re starting to get a good idea of which chemicals and products are carcinogenic.

The U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services published a 240 page report on reducing environmental cancer risk that can be read here. “With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread,” the report explains.

These chemicals are prevalent in our environment, but what can you do? Stop supporting companies that produce these chemicals, for one. If a product contains carcinogens do you really want that in your home and around your children?

While some instances of cancer are unavoidable, there are things we can do to actively protect ourselves and our families:

Pesticides

1. Eat organic as often as possible.

Food that is organic is grown without synthetic pesticides and utilizes classic farming techniques to build healthy soil. The suffix ‘-cide’ literally means death. Synthetic pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and other forms of ‘cides’ are death for the crops that you eat as well as the soil surrounding it. This affects your health in a few ways. First, organic food doesn’t contain as high of a level of pesticides so you’re not ingesting these chemicals. What you eat determines your inner state of health. If you’re eating food grown in pesticides your body has to adapt and fight harder to stay healthier.

In animal studies it has been found that multiple forms of pesticides are carcinogenic, so why are we still eating so much food that contains them? Eating organic is the number one way to reduce your body’s overall pesticide load. Glyphosate, a pesticide used on many genetically engineered (GMO) foods was labeled “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Glyphosate was brought to the market by Monsanto under the product name ”Roundup.”

2. Avoid sprays designed to exterminate.

Ant sprays, roach sprays, mosquito sprays, flea and tick sprays should all be used with caution.  Sprays that are meant to kill bugs are also potentially going to weaken human health, because they are chemical concoctions formulated to incur death on a smaller species.

According to the New York Times, indoor studies relating to bug sprays (with 16 studies backing this) have proven that these chemicals lead to a 47% increased risk for childhood leukemia and a 43% increase in the risk of childhood lymphoma. Additionally outdoor pesticides used as weed killers were associated with a 26% increased risk for brain tumors.

What can you do? Use natural bug sprays or mixtures made from essential oils instead.

A good rule of thumb is to look at a label and look for any warning labels on the product. This is also a good indicator that using these products and inhaling the fumes is not beneficial for health. Solutions that are made from plant chemicals or compounds are often more eco-friendly to the environment as well.

Unfortunately, many products on the market today have not been tested for their cancer-causing potential. This is why making eco-healthy choices and healthy-friendly choices is the best route to take.

Using more of nature’s intelligence and fewer synthetic chemicals in your diet and lifestyle routine is ultimately the best choice for the health of your body, your family, and for dramatically reducing your risk of becoming another statistic on the wrong side of our “war against cancer.”

David Benjamin is the founder of HealthyWildAndFree.com, He writes about health, wellness, green living and sustainability. He also works with the Truth About Cancer documentary series to share and educate the public on understanding cancer, it’s causes and risks further and how to prevent it by making smarter, more earth friendly decisions.


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Ten Reasons Why Organic Food Is Better

 by Guy Dauncey

I work at Eating Well Organically and this list is posted on the wall in the store. I’ve been researching organic foods and I think its a great list of reasons to eat the “organic way”. This list is full of excellent facts and insightful knowledge from studies from all over the world. Please note that some of the data is a little old (latest 2002) so not all the figures are up-to-date. Enjoy!

1. Organic farming is better for wildlife
A report by Britain’s Soil Association shows that wildlife is substantially richer and more varied on organic than on conventional farms. A typical organic field has five times as many wild plants, 57% more species, and 44% more birds in cultivated areas than a regular farm . Two 1996 studies show that organic farms have twice as many skylarks, and twice as many butterflies . Every time we eat an organic lettuce or tomato, we help restore wildlife.

2. Organic farming is better for the soil
Studies show that organic fields have deeper vegetation, more weed cover, and contain 88% more ‘epigeal arthropods’ (squiggly soil creatures) . A new Swiss study demonstrates that organic soils have more soil microbes, more mycorrhizae – the fungi that attach themselves to the tips of plant roots and help plants absorb nutrients – and more earthworms . It found that soil insects are twice as abundant and more diverse in organic plots, including pest-eating spiders and beetles.

3. Organic food is better for animal reproduction
Out of 14 animal studies, ten showed that animals fare better when fed organic food. Three showed no difference, and one showed an improvement with conventional food. We are all mammals, so we share a lot in common. Female rabbits fed on organic food have twice the level of ovum production; chickens fed on organic food have a 28% higher rate of egg production. Rabbits that were fed conventional food saw a decline in fertility over three generations, compared to no decline for organically fed rabbits . Meanwhile, many human couples find it hard to have a baby…

4. Organic food helps fight cancer, stroke and heart problems
In a recent study, Scottish scientists found that organic vegetable soups contain almost six times as much salicylic acid as non-organic vegetable soups. Eleven brands of organic soup had 117 nanograms per gram, versus just 20 nanograms in 24 types of non-organic soup . Salicylic acid is the main ingredient in aspirin; it helps fight hardening of the arteries and bowel cancer, and is produced naturally in plants as a defence against stress and disease. If plants don’t have to resist bugs because of pesticide-use, they generate less salicylic acid, and pass less on to us. The same scientists found significantly higher concentrations of salicylic acid in the blood of vegetarian Buddhist monks, compared with meat-eaters.

5. Organic food contains more nutrients
According to a recent study by the Canadian Globe and Mail and CTV News of the nutrient quality of fruit and vegetables, compared to 50 years ago, today’s regular fruit and vegetables contain dramatically less vitamins and minerals . The average potato has lost 100% of its vitamin A, 57% of its vitamin C and iron, 28% of its calcium, 50% of its riboflavin, and 18% of its thiamin. Out of seven key nutrients studied, only niacin levels increased. Similar results applied to 24 other fruits and vegetables. For broccoli, all seven nutrients fell, including a 63% decrease in calcium and a 34% decrease in iron. No wonder we are gulping down the supplements.

In April 2001, however, a US study examined 41 comparisons of the nutrient levels in organic and regular foods. In every case, the organic crops had higher nutrient levels – 27% more vitamin C, 29% more iron, 14% more phosphorus . At the June 2001 meeting of the American Chemical Society, a chemistry professor reported that organic oranges contained up to 30% more vitamin C than regular oranges, even though they are half the size . (Conventional orange trees are fed nitrogen fertilizer, causing the fruit to absorb more water, which makes them bigger.) In a French study, a cancer specialist studying the nutrient qualities of food grown in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France showed that for the twelve foods where his study is complete, the organic foods showed increased quantities of vitamins A, C, E, and the B group, increased elements such as zinc, increased minerals such as calcium, and increased fibre.

6. Organic apples are just better!
From 1994 to 1999, a soil scientist at Washington State University ran a series of tests comparing apple orchards. The organic orchard had the best soil, held water better, and resisted soil damage better. It was more energy efficient, and required less labour and less water per apple. The organic apples were firmer, tasted sweeter and were less tart to a non-expert panel. The organic orchard also made more money, since the apples sold for a higher price.

7. Organic farming can feed the world
In a 2002 Greenpeace report, the authors found that organic and agro-ecological methods of growing in the Southern hemisphere produced a dramatic increase in yields, as well as reduced pests and diseases, greater crop diversity, and improved nutritional content. In the Tigray, Ethiopia, organic crops raised 3-5 times more food than chemically treated plots; in Brazil, maize yields increased by 20 – 250%; in Peru, uplands crop yields increased by 150% .

In 1998, the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, published the results of a 15-year study that compared 3 ways of growing maize and soybeans – a conventional chemical rotation method, an organic system involving crop rotation and legume crops, and an organic system using cow manure. The yields were similar for all three systems, debunking the myth that organic methods cannot feed the world . In Britain, an experiment run at Broadbalk by the Rothamsted Experimental Station for 150 years has shown that wheat yields on manured plots average 3.45 tonnes per hectare, compared to 3.40 tonnes on the chemically fertilized plots.

A recently completed 21-year Swiss study, on the other hand, showed that organic yields were 20% smaller than conventional yields. The organic plots required 34% to 53% less fertilizer and energy and 97% less pesticide, however, and produced more food per unit of energy and fertilizer. The soil microbes, flora, fauna and soil fertility also increased, leading the study’s authors to conclude that the ecological benefits of organic farming make up for the reduced harvest.

8. Organic farming protects the climate
Organic soil is full of living creatures, which carry carbon. In the Rodale experiment, the organically managed plot stored much more carbon than the conventional plot. In the Broadbalk experiment, soil fertility increased by 120% in the manured plots, versus 20% in the chemical plots. The same results occurred in the Swiss experiment. A study in California’s Central Valley showed that as well as producing similar yields and suffering similar pest damage, organically managed fields produced 28% more organic carbon. By storing more carbon in the soil, organic farmers help to counteract global climate change.

9. Organic farming produces higher yields in drought conditions
In a review of comparative studies of grain and soybean production in the US Midwest, organic growers produced higher yields in drier climates and during droughts (and similar yields in regular conditions) . The same results were found in the Rodale experiment. Organic matter makes the soil less compact and more moisture retentive, allowing the roots to penetrate more deeply to find water.

10. Organic food is safer
Organic farming generates more jobs, produces more profits, and doesn’t pollute groundwater with nitrogen run-off. It also avoids all the risks associated with GM crops. But let’s finish with the reason why many people start eating organic food – because they believe it is safer. Farmers in Canada, Kansas and Nebraska who use the pesticide 2,4-D suffer a higher rate of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (a cancer). The same applies to dogs which play on lawns that have been sprayed. In Sweden, exposure to phenoxy herbicides has been shown to increase the risk of contracting lymphomas six-fold . In the US, the death rates from myeloma (a cancer) are highest in rural farming areas . And so it goes on. Migrant farmworkers suffer an abnormally high rate of multiple myeloma, stomach, prostate and testicular cancer . Organic farming carries none of these risks.

There is a strong association between breast cancer and exposure to chemical pesticides. Atrazine, a common ingredient in pesticides, causes breast cancer in rats, chromosomal breakdown in the ovaries of hamsters , and hind-limb deformities in frogs. A Finnish study showed that women whose breasts stored the highest levels of a lindane-like residue were ten times more likely to have breast cancer than women with lower levels . (Lindane is a pesticide.)

We can end all this by shifting to organic food. We can be healthier. Our children can be healthier. Our farmers and farm workers can be healthier. Frogs, worms, butterflies, skylarks and the soil itself can be healthier. All that it takes is to turn away from chemically grown food, and embrace organic food.

Guy Dauncey is the author of Earthfuture: Stories from a Sustainable World (ecotopian short stories, summer reading!) and Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate Change, winner of a Nautilus Award at the New York Book Expo (New Society Publishers). He lives in Victoria, BC. http://www.earthfuture.com

Footnotes
1 New Scientist, June 3, 2000. http://www.soilassociation.org
2 Ecology and Farming Magazine, IFOAM, Sept/Dec 1996
3 Ecology and Farming Magazine, IFOAM, Sept/Dec 1996
4 BBC News, May 30 th 2002. Study by Paul Mader
5 ‘Effect of Agricultural Methods on Nutritional Quality’ by Dr. Virginia Worthington, Alternative Therapies, 1998:4.
6 New Scientist, March 14 th , 2002
7 Globe and Mail, July 6 th , 2002
8 Nutritional Quality of Organic Versus Conventional Fruits, Vegetables and Grains. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. Virginia Worthington. Vol 7, No 2, 2001.
9 Research by Professor Theo Clark, Truman State University, Kirksville, Mo. American Chemical Society, June 2, 2002
10 Reported in the newspaper ‘Ouest-France’, August 16 th 2001
11 New Scientist, April 18 th 2001
12 The Real Green Revolution’ by N. Parrott and T. Marsden. Greenpeace, 2002. http://www.farmingsolutions.org
13 Drinkwater, Wagoner and Sarronio, Nature 396, (1998). http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/science/fst1.html
14 “Can Organic Farming Feed the World?” by ChristosVasilikiotis, Ph.D. http://www.cnr.berkeley.edu/~christos/articles/cv_organic_farming.html
15 See Note 5
16 See Note 13
17 ‘Living Downstream’, by Sandra Steingraber, page 52.
18 Steingraber, page 64.
19 Steingraber, page 65.
20 Steingraber, page 162.
21 Steingraber, page 11.

source: http://sustainablesteps.blogspot.ca/2006/10/ten-reasons-why-organic-food-is-better.html


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Tired of worrying about what’s really in your food? There is an answer: Go organic

By Organic Week   Posted Aug. 31   By Matthew Holmes, Executive Director, Canada Organic Trade Association

When you ask people what’s special about organic food, they generally say organic farmers do not use toxic chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). That’s part of the picture, but there is much more to it.

Organic agriculture offers compelling answers to the complex issues facing the world today – whether hunger, land sovereignty, environmental degradation or the threat of GMOs in the food chain.

The organic movement started as farmers, scientists and consumers began to question the long-term legacy of the post-war intensification of chemical agriculture. Sadly, many of these concerns are just as real today as they were back then.

But truly, what can a consumer do about unethical labour practices within the multinational food system; about the prevalence of cancer among farm workers; about the toxic impacts on our environment and wildlife from industrialized agriculture; about the unsustainable use of fossil-fuel-derived synthetic fertilizers that form the basis of modern agriculture; or about the GMOs and countless chemical additives we all eat without knowing it?

It’s simple: you can support organic agriculture and help us grow a sustainable and positive alternative.


A lot of people are talking about the “100-mile diet” in support of local farmers and local economies. This concept is really important, but it goes both ways: if your local PEI potato farmer is contributing to the toxins in your water that make thousands of fish wash up dead after a major rain-fall, this is not a good relationship. If your local meat producer isn’t following humane animal welfare standards, what does that say about your community? If your Ontario corn and soy producer is increasing the number of GMOs that are contaminating and compromising the future of food as we know it, why would they deserve your support?

Instead, let’s talk about the 100-year diet: sustainable ecological agriculture that contributes to the resilience of our food system and food security, increases the biodiversity and balance in our environment, and contributes to the health and well-being of our children and our communities. This is what organic offers that truly sets it apart and makes it worth supporting.

It is time for Canada to re-imagine agriculture as something more than just a major trade that results in food. We need to find a way to bring agriculture, health and environment together. All three are unquestionably linked.

Some governments have already done so: giving incentives to farmers who provide ecological goods and services to their communities and society in general.

In Germany, for example, several water utilities pay farmers to switch to organic methods and certification because it costs less than removing conventional farm chemicals from water supplies. Makes sense, doesn’t it? In Italy, the government requires schools to provide children with organic foods to ensure they have the best possible start in life with nutritious foods from local farmers.

To make these sorts of changes here at home, it’s up to you to “go organic”.

When you see the Canada Organic logo on a food label, you know that product meets Canada’s national organic requirements, overseen by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. As organic certification is built on top of all other food regulations and food safety requirements, organic is the most regulated and inspected food system in the country.

But organic is not only that.

When you see the Canada Organic logo on a food product, you know that product is from an alternative food system that is supporting farmers and processors who take the long-view of agriculture, health and environment. Choosing organic really does make a difference.


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17 Essential Reasons to Eat Organic Food

Michelle Schoffro Cook   April 4, 2013

Organic food was the only option for thousands of years.  Now, with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and genetically-modified foods, organic is still the best option.  Here are 17 reasons to eat organic food:

1.  Genetically-modified foods were unleashed on the environment and the public by corporations like Monsanto without prior testing to determine their safety.  In other words, eating genetically-modified foods (which most people in in large amounts) is participating in a long-term, uncontrolled experiment. Choose organic to avoid participating in this experiment.

2.  More and more research is coming in about the health threat of genetically-modified food.  The results range from intestinal damage, allergies, liver or pancreatic problems, testicular cellular changes, tumors, and even death in the experimental animals. For more information, read the excellent books by Jeffrey M. Smith Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette. I’ll discuss more of the problems linked with GMOs in upcoming blogs. Eating third-party certified organic foods or those that are guaranteed to be grown from organic seed helps protect you from the health consequences of GMOs.

3.  Fruits and vegetables are real food, not pesticide factories. Eighteen percent of all genetically-modified seeds (and therefore foods that grow from them) are engineered to produce their own pesticides.  Research shows that these seeds continue producing pesticides inside your body once you’ve eaten the food grown from them! Foods that are actually pesticide factories…no thanks.

4.  They’re free of neurotoxins—toxins that are damaging to brain and nerve cells. A commonly-used class of pesticides called organophosphates was originally developed as a toxic nerve agent during World War I. When there was no longer a need for them in warfare, industry adapted them to kill pests on foods. Many pesticides are still considered neurotoxins.  Learn more about pesticides in The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan.

5.  They’re supportive of growing children’s brains and bodies.  Children’s growing brains and bodies are far more susceptible to toxins than adults.  Choosing organic helps feed their bodies without the exposure to pesticides and genetically-modified organisms, both of which have a relatively short history of use (and therefore safety).

6.  In study after study, research from independent organizations consistently shows organic food is higher in nutrients than traditional foods.  Research shows that organic produce is higher in vitamin C, antioxidants, and the minerals calcium, iron, chromium, and magnesium. (For more information, check out The Life Force Diet).


7.  The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that pesticides pollute the primary drinking source for half the American population. Organic farming is the best solution to the problem. Buying organic helps reduce pollution in our drinking water.

8.  Organic food is earth-supportive (when big business keeps their hands out of it). Organic food production has been around for thousands of years and is the sustainable choice for the future.  Compare that to modern agricultural practices that are destructive of the environment through widespread use of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers and have resulted in drastic environmental damage in many parts of the world.

9.  Organic food choices grown on small-scale organic farms help ensure independent family farmers can create a livelihood. Consider it the domestic version of fair trade.

10. Most organic food simply tastes better than the pesticide-grown counterparts.

11. Organic food is not exposed to gas-ripening like some non-organic fruits and vegetables (like bananas).

12.  Organic farms are safer for farm workers. Research at the Harvard School of Public Health found a 70% increase in Parkinson’s disease among people exposed to pesticides. Choosing organic foods means that more people will be able to work on farms without incurring the higher potential health risk of Parkinson’s or other illnesses.

13.  Organic food supports wildlife habitats. Even with commonly used amounts of pesticides, wildlife is being harmed by exposure to pesticides.

14.  Eating organic may reduce your cancer risk.  The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60% of herbicides, 90% of fungicides, and 30% of insecticides potentially cancer-causing.  It is reasonable to think that the rapidly increasing rates of cancer are at least partly linked to the use of these carcinogenic pesticides.

15.  Choosing organic meat lessens your exposure to antibiotics, synthetic hormones, and drugs that find their way into the animals and ultimately into you.

16.  Organic food is tried and tested. By some estimates genetically-modified food makes up 80% of the average person’s food consumption. Genetic modification of food is still experimental. Avoid being part of this wide scale and uncontrolled experiment.

17.  Organic food supports greater biodiversity.  Diversity is fundamental to life on this planet. Genetically-modified and non-organic food is focused on high yield monoculture and is destroying biodiversity.

Adapted from  The Life Force Diet by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.
source: care2.com
 


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9 Ways to Fix Our Food System

Hungry for change? Take these simple steps right now!
By Max Follmer       October 10, 2012

Drink Fewer Sodas And Sweetened Beverages
Fact: If you replace one 20-ounce soda a day with a no-calorie beverage (preferably water), you could lose 25 pounds in a year.

Eat At Home Instead Of Eating Out
Fact: Children consume almost twice as many calories when eating food made outside the home.

Tell Schools To Stop Selling Sodas And Junk Food
Fact: Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 years old.

Meatless Mondays! Go Meatless At Least One Day A Week
Fact: An estimated 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the U.S. are given to farm animals.

Buy Organic Or Sustainable Foods With Little To No Pesticide Use
The EPA says more than 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the U.S.

Protect Family Farms By Visiting Your Local Farmers’ Market
Farmers’ markets enable farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the customer.

Make A Point To Know Where Your Food Comes From By Reading Labels
The average meal travels 1,500 miles from the farm to your dinner plate.

Tell Your Lawmakers That Food Safety Is Important To You
Fact: Each year, contaminated food causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths.

Demand Job Protections For Farm Workers And Food Processors, Ensuring Fair Wages And Other Protections
Fact: Poverty among farm workers is more than twice that of all wage and salary employees.

source: takepart.com


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Study Links Food Allergies To Pesticides In Tap Water

By Alexandra Sifferlin     Dec. 03, 2012

Is our drinking water making us sick?

Over the past 20 years, the number of people allergic to milk, eggs, wheat nuts and shellfish has soared, jumping by 18% between 1997 and 2007, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But why?

A team of researchers reporting in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), decided to look at whether that rise in food sensitivities could be related to another growing trend during that time period — the use of environmental pesticides and purifying chemicals.

Specifically, the scientists focused on a group of pesticides called dichlorophenols that is also used to purify water. They began with 10,348 participants from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006, 2,548 of whom showed dichlorophenols in their urine. In the end 2,211 were included in the study; food allergy was found in 411 of these participants and 1,016 had an allergy to an environmental agent, whether it was air pollutant or compounds found in products like pesticides. Those with higher levels of dichlorophenols in the body were 80% more likely to have food sensitivity than those with lower levels, and the authors believe the exposure to the chemicals may be contributing to a hyper-sensitive immune system that recognizes even common food proteins as foreign.

“We started to look into the question of why in westernized countries food allergies are so prevalent, says lead study author Dr. Elina Jerschow, an American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) fellow. “Pollutants are so widely available in the West through pesticides, herbicides and insecticides, there may be a link.”



It’s important to understand that the study simply finds an association between pesticide exposure and food allergies; the link does not establish a cause and effect relationship. The authors also say that the study compared rates of food allergies at different times in different populations; a longitudinal study that follows the same group of children over time and monitors their environments and food allergy rates would provide a more definitive answer about the role of pesticides in these allergies.

Yet the correlation raises the possibility that pesticides may be contributing in some way to changing immune sensitivities and influencing the way young children become tolerant to certain antigens in food. In other words, purifying water may strip it of bacteria that may be important in priming our immune systems to recognize and react to more threatening pathogens. Without such “training,” immune systems may mistakenly interpret certain food proteins as harmful, and therefore react to them as if they are a threat.

“In an urbanized setting, we are not exposed to the same bacteria as we used to be,” says Dr. Jerschow. “For example, kids living on farms are exposed to more bacteria and have less allergies. It could be that dichlorophenols prevent us from being exposed to more bugs.”

Dr. Scott Sicherer, professor of pediatrics at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine says the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ is one of many theories that could explain heightened food sensitivies in the U.S. “Nowadays, as the theory goes, we are not living on farms with a large variety of natural germs. We have smaller families, and are otherwise well protected from infections–which is a good thing–so our immune system is not required to fight as many germs,” he says. “This may be leaving the immune system misdirected and ‘looking for a fight’ that leads to an attack on harmless proteins like those in foods, or animal dander or pollens.” In other words, while sanitation practices have protected us from some of the deadly infectious diseases that plagued populations before us, trying to sterilize our environments may not be doing us any favors either. When it comes to keeping our immune systems working properly, it might help to let just a few bugs in.
Alexandra Sifferlin @acsifferlin
Alexandra Sifferlin is a writer and producer for TIME Healthland. She is a graduate from the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.

source: Time