From Yards to Apples: Pesticides Spring Up

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Spring offers the promise of new CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscriptions that land a box of fruits and vegetables on your front porch, along with your own yard work, cookouts, and the opportunity to be conscious of what chemicals we put into bodies and our watershed.

By choosing your landscaping regime and food wisely, you can do your part to stop the spread of carcinogenic pesticides. Diane Lewis, physician and founder of the Great and Healthy Yard Project, writes this week in the New York Times about the huge amount of pesticides that we use on our lawns and the harm they can do to our water and health:

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service says homeowners use up to 10 times more chemicals per acre than farmers do. Some of these chemicals rub off on children or pets, but most are washed with rainwater into our streams, lakes and rivers or are absorbed into our groundwater. These are the sources of our drinking water, and tests show these chemicals are indeed contaminating our water supply."

Moving on to our bodies, Pat Thomas in The Ecologist has an impassioned article on the dangers of herbicides in our food. He covers recent discoveries about glyphosate (Round Up weed killer) showing up in mother’s milk, and the chemical industries’ quick attempt to put the kibosh on the information.  

On the latest regulatory developments on 2-4D and the way that these harmful chemicals are connected to GMOs, he writes:

This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is set to approve the use of 2,4-D --  the notorious defoliant which was a key ingredient in Agent Orange -- on GMO crops that have become resistant to glyphosate. The approval is as stark and unapologetic a statement about the U.S. commitment to GMO crops as can be."

This is certainly sobering stuff, but fear not, Warriors. The fix is easy: weed your garden by hand and use some research and common sense to try to limit your pesticide use. Our friends at the Environmental Working Group recently published their 2014 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which gives a ranking of the most and lease chemical laden fruits and veggies.

Sources:

Read all articles by Damon Cory-Watson

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