When Pesticides Attack!

by Danica Smith on February 21, 2014

I would like to preface this post by saying I like food and don’t discriminate against organic food or processed foods. I personally like organic food better but I don’t pay attention to it too much. I added some personal thoughts in here with the information, but if it bothers you than just ignore it.

womf_logo_label2by Danica Smith

There’s a new fad in society right now: “going organic.” This food is supposed to be healthier and more natural than the regular stuff seen at grocery stores. Is being labeled as “organic” really mean that they are as innocent as they sound? Just because food is marked as organic doesn’t mean it hasn’t been treated with harmful agents. In fact, organic food is treated with pesticides.

Biological pesticides are more natural than others, but if organic food isn’t what I thought it was then how can we truly get “pesticide free”? I guess from my research, it seems like that is a difficult feat. Beginning in 2002, producers and handlers were required to be certified by the USDA-accredited certifying agents to label all foods on a scale ranging from “100 percent organic” to “processed.” The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) are the top guns in charge of pesticide use and determine which ones are safe, the protective measures, and everything else that goes into food.

Pesticides have become a necessary part of farming and food production, but it seems to be enhancing the further use on more products. With population growth, it is necessary to yield as much usable crops as possible. With a 20-40% loss in the world’s potential crop production from pests, weeds and disease, how are we supposed to feed everyone? Pesticides help control the harmful agents on crops so more food can be grown. The standard for purchasing perfect fruits and vegetables also calls for more production. If we really want natural food, then we need to get used to eating imperfect fruits. Although there are benefits to using pesticides, the benefit can cause a negative side effect.

Killing disease filled insects is one positive, but filling our bodies with chemicals is questionable. Some pesticides can effect the nervous system, or irritate the skin or eyes, some are carcinogens, and some, affect hormones in the endocrine system. With potentially harmful effects to our health, and the growing use of non-biological illegal pesticides, how can we be sure pesticides are that beneficial? Organic food always gives the image as being superior to processed foods, but they use pesticides too. Granted, they use more natural pesticides like sulfur, nicotine (hmm…cigarettes?), copper, or other biological pesticides, but it is still added chemicals. Plants also produce their own toxins so not using fertilizer or pesticides means that organic food can still be harmful. The FDA and EPA have strict rules on organic products to ensure that natural contaminants won’t build up in the body and cause undetermined health problems in the future. Organic food is also said to be healthier than processed food, but it was found in a study at the University of Arizona that “ few studies have reported that organic produce has higher levels of Vitamin C, certain minerals and antioxidants. But the differences are so small that they probably have no effect on overall health.” Also it was said that “sustainable farming (a mix between conventional and organic) had the highest levels of flavonoids (prevent cancer and heart disease) not organic food.” So then I ask, why am I paying more for organic food if there isn’t a huge nutritious, natural benefit?

Personally, I am not good at reading labels and don’t focus too much on whether something is “organic” or “processed” but some people do. I think it is interesting that organic food used the thing that so many people are against: pesticides. I think the larger picture is that people are uneducated about what is actually in our food and that has been a problem and will be a problem for years to come. So next time you are in the grocery store, remember, pesticides are everywhere and can’t be escaped!

http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/human.htm#healtheffects

 

http://www.croplifeamerica.org/crop-protection/benefits/safeguard-health

 

http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/health/foodsafety/az1079.html

http://www.whatsonmyfood.org

 

 

 


{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Danica Smith February 21, 2014 at 4:35 am

Yay first post!!

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Jewels T February 21, 2014 at 4:40 am

I live right near a Whole Foods and am always buying their organic food. Never once did I check if the the foods labeled as organic were harming me in some other way such as pesticides. Thanks for the informing info!

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Juliana Freeman February 21, 2014 at 4:49 am

Wow! Definitely opened my eyes!

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Grace February 21, 2014 at 6:18 am

I personally like organic better, but as a college student, organic is so expensive! I think that if eating organic was less costly, it would be a far more accessible option, which would be great due to the health benefits!

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Tucker February 21, 2014 at 6:27 am

Very interesting article. Maybe for your next one you could talk about the actual or non-excistent benefits of organic milk instead of regular milk. Especially with the significant price difference.

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Madisen February 21, 2014 at 6:30 am

Yay Danica

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Jamie Nicole February 21, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Really interesting article, Danica!

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Ashley February 21, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Wow! What an interesting read! Looking forward to sharing this with everyone I know.

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Jess February 21, 2014 at 2:17 pm

ORGANIC FOOD ROCKS! We should just stop growing food with pesticides all together. Buying organic is so expensive.

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Alex S February 21, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Good Thing I haven’t been wasting my time on expensive Organic Food, I knew there was something right about that decision these past years at the grocery- Way to go ME.

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Kyra Wells February 21, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Well I think the gain out weighs the risk as everything seems to have pesticides and you can really get food without them unless you home-grow them yourself. organic food is still better than normal (which shouldnt be normal since its so bad) food that is brimming with pesticides.

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hilary February 21, 2014 at 3:33 pm

life changing

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Thanks for all the information! There is so much about food we don’t even think about! Great post!

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