When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied. Herophilus
When I was studying horticulture at the University of New Hampshire in 1980, we had to be able to pass the test for a state Pesticide Applicator’s license. None of us were planning on getting this license, but we had all the information we’d never need. We learned about mixing or not mixing pesticides, rates of application, regulations about allowable plants to be doused and so on. One tidbit of information I held onto was that there were 62 pesticides approved for lettuce.
I recently revisited this information. I googled ‘pesticides on lettuce’ and came up with this website, What’s In My Food?. Today, there are 51 pesticide residues found on conventionally grown lettuce! That’s not much of an improvement from 30 years ago.
What really disgusted me, though, was what those pesticides do to us AND the environment.
Here are the facts for lettuce:
Human Health Effects:
12 known or probable carcinogens
29 suspected hormone disruptors
10 developmental or reproductive toxins
21 honeybee toxins
Hormone Disruptors – The endocrine system secretes hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, thyroxin (from the thyroid), insulin (from the pancreas) and various sex hormones from the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. Endocrine disruptors change the levels of hormones secreted, block hormone production entirely or change the way hormones are transported through the bloodstream, altering reproductive and sexual development in humans and wildlife. Hormone disruptors are responsible for infertility, poor quality semen, premature puberty, metabolic disorders and prostate cancer among other things. Fetuses, infants and children are especially vulnerable, but maybe not show symptoms until adulthood.
Neurotoxins – Neurotoxin organophosphates were developed by the Nazis in WWII as nerve gas. Today they are in pesticides. Neurotoxins damage the nervous system and brain, lowering intelligence and creating learning disabilities. They are also linked to ADHD, ADD, autism, depression, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, chemical sensitivity, mental retardation, sleep disorders and a long list of other illnesses.
Developmental and Reproductive Toxins – Developmental and reproductive toxins are responsible for sterility, infertility, birth defects and abnormal growth and development. Some of these symptoms overlap with hormone disruptors.
Honeybee Toxins – Honeybees are pollinators. Without them, there would be no food. Pesticides were developed to kill bugs, and honeybees are no less susceptible than any other insect. Systemic, neurotoxic pesticides travel through the plant to the flowers. They disorient the bees so they can’t find their way back to the hive. The bees in the hive die of starvation, and colonies are dying off. Honeybees are also affected by hormone disruptors, just as humans are.
Had enough? Is it clear that your health and that of the planet rely on organic growing and eating? Facts like these are not in the mainstream news, and they are not included in the curriculum of a traditional school. You have to dig for them, but a little research will unearth some important but scary stuff! It’s up to you to apply it or not. Your choice. Make the right one.