Information on the health risks of consuming pesticides and chemicals from fruits and vegetables has grown as the public demands answers, alarmed over possible health risks.
Even so, many are under the misconception that thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables solves the problem of pesticides and the resultant health risks.
Yet, studies have shown that produce can absorb pesticides and chemicals through the skin, contaminating our food.
Recent revelations from the EPA state, in part: ‘There are over 20,000 pesticide products containing 620 active ingredients on the market. Each year, 1 billion pounds of active ingredients in conventional pesticides are applied in the United States.
There are over 80,000 existing chemicals on the TSCA inventory and each year an additional 2,000 chemicals are added. Release of these chemicals into the environment through agricultural and nonagricultural application and other means poses serious risks to both human health and ecosystems (e.g., plant and wildlife).
Humans are exposed to thousands of these agents either singly or in various combinations every day through air, drinking water, food and dust particles.’
There has been an ongoing problem with analysis of the health risks of pesticides and chemicals, as using humans for blind-studies are unethical at best. This leaves studies of farmers and farm workers who are exposed to pesticides and chemicals, sometimes in high concentration, as well as those in the public who fall ill from the effects of pesticides.
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Studies of individuals suffering from Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia reflected a positive association with pesticide exposure. In fact the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants has gone on record by stating that 10 of the 12 most dangerous chemicals are pesticides.
Other studies have shown that pesticide exposure can cause brain, kidney, breast, prostrate, pancreas, liver, lung, and skin cancers, through both residential and occupational exposure. Additionally, exposure to chemicals and pesticides has been linked to childhood cancers and birth defects.
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So, What Can Be Done To Reduce These Risks?
Buying organic is one solution, but many caught in the current financial downswing may find the costs prohibitive. Even for those able to afford the higher cost of organic food, S.510, the “Food Safety Bill” may take that choice away by regulating organic growers out of business with egregious regulations and red tape.
The good news is there is a solution, and it lies in your back yard, porch, or patio. Heirloom or Hybrid seed produce healthy fruits and vegetables for a fraction of the costs of buying organic.
There are other benefits tied to gardening with these seed, and for many of us, it begins with knowing what goes into our bodies.
Growing your own garden food will provide nutritious meals in spite of what the economy does and it solves the problem of skyrocketing food prices and food shortages.
Gardening allows you to replace harmful pesticides with natural methods. Here are just a few natural remedies: horseradish keeps potato bugs away; mint controls cabbage butterflies, ants, and mice; garlic and red pepper spray will rid the garden of moth caterpillar; pepper spray repels rabbits; corn and grapes can be protected from cabbage worms and red spider mites by planting geraniums nearby; and slugs and snails are controlled with wormwood spray.
Perhaps it is time to join the ever-growing movement towards gardening for delicious, healthy produce on your terms at a cost that will not leave your pocket book empty.
If there was an unexpected emergency, do you have a 72-hour emergency kit in your car that will get you home safely?
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