Celebrating Earth Week: Eating Organic
"from the Health Education Alliance for Life and Longevity"
Organic farmers follow environmentally responsible business
practices. Organic cows are free of antibiotics used as routine
prevention. In comparison, 82 different drugs, including RBGH, are
found in conventional dairy farms. Ounce for ounce, organic fruits
and vegetables are twice as rich in certain nutrients compared to non-
organic produce, according to a recent study reported in the Journal
of Applied Nutrition.
Here are some thought-provoking figures about our food supply:
More than 20,000 pesticides are registered for use in the United
States. About 75% of the chemicals, some 2.2 billion pounds annually,
are used on more than 900,000 US farms at an annual cost of about
$8.3 billion, according to the Pesticide Action Network. Pesticide
sales have increased more than 2,700% since 1962 and US users now
account for one-third of the world pesticide market.
NBC News recently reported that 9000 people die each year in the US
due to food related illness. Our exposure to man-made chemicals in
the food we eat is suspected of being a major factor in today's
increased risk to cancer.
The Environmental Working Group found that "more than half of the
total dietary risk from pesticides...was concentrated in just 12
crops. The pesticides that were found in these foods are classified
by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as probable human
carcinogens, nervous system poisons and endocrine system disrupters."
Groundwater contamination caused by pesticides has spread pollutants
to the world's rivers, lakes and oceans, killing fish, wildlife, and
Greenpeace states that "numerous studies show that many pesticides
cause health problems ranging from such long-term chronic effects as
cancer, genetic damage, birth defects, harm to the immune system,
kidneys and liver, to short-term acute effects such as nerve damage,
dizziness, nausea and fatigue."
Some experts believe certain agricultural chemicals, such as toluene,
can be toxic to fetuses.
Sixty percent of all herbicides, 90% of all fungicides and 30% of all
insecticides are considered carcinogenic by the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA).
A 1987 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report estimated that
20,000 cases of cancer a year can be linked to US pesticide use.
Health experts long have warned of the dangers of high-fat foods that
can lead to heart disease or cancer. New studies show that each fatty
bite may also carry a dose of highly toxic chemicals.
Man-made chemicals, including traces of highly carcinogenic dioxins
released into the environment, are turning up in fast-food and
grocery store staples such as meat, fish and dairy products at levels
that exceed US government standards by 200% or more, according to
"In industrialized countries you can avoid the intake of dioxins, to
a certain extent, by eating food that is low in fat," says Dr. Arnold
Schecter, an international medical expert on dioxins and an advisor
to the World Health Organization (WHO). "But it is more desirable to
avoid producing dioxins in the first place."
Dioxin is a toxic waste product formed when municipal and hazardous
waste is burned, and when chemicals containing chlorine, such as
pesticides and paper products, are manufactured. This product ends up
in the food chain. When an animal eats food that contains this toxic
chemical they accumulate in the fat.
Both WHO and the US Environmental Protection Agency agree that
dioxins cause cancer. "Besides cancer, minute amounts of these
chemicals have been shown to lead to nervous system and liver damage,
as well as to mimic hormones that disrupt reproduction and human
development," says Schecter. "It is known that every person in every
industrialized country has dioxins in their blood...but since about
96% of the general population's exposure to dioxins is through food,
we wanted to see if certain kinds of food contained more dioxins than
others," Schecter said.
While vegetables and fruits also contained trace amounts of these
chemicals, the dose was significantly less than high fat foods.
Advocacy groups such as the American Public Health Association (APHA)
believe that governments should be doing more to protect people's
health, especially in light of these new scientific findings.
Birth defects, learning disabilities and other development problems
have been linked to dioxin exposure, according to the studies. This
is because these chemicals "mimic" or "block" estrogen and
progesterone, natural hormones that instruct the body on how it
should develop. In just six months of breast feeding, a baby in the
United States will, on average, consume the EPA's maximum lifetime
dose of dioxin, Schecter says. Dioxins are also highly persistent in
the environment and extremely resistant to chemical or physical
Twelve highly contaminated foods according to some sources:
Strawberries, Green and Red Bell Peppers, Spinach, Cherries (US),
Peaches, Cantaloupe (Mexico), Celery, Apples, Apricots, Green beans,
Grapes (Chilean), Cucumbers.
Ten most important Organic Foods to Eat:
Baby Food - According to the National Academy of Sciences, federal
pesticide standards provide too little health protection.
Strawberries - A 1993 study by the Environmental Working Group found
that supermarket strawberries were the most heavily contaminated
fruit or vegetable in the US.
Rice - Water-soluble herbicides and insecticides have contaminated
the groundwater near rice fields. Buy organic rice from Eagle
Agricultural Products, Lundberg Family Farmers, or MacDougall's Wild
Oats - In 1994, the FDA found illegal residues in a year's worth of
Cheerios from GM. Organic growers provide oats, millet, quinoa,
barley, couscous, amaranth, and spelt as healthy options.
Milk - Dairy companies inject cows with recombinant bovine growth
hormone. 79% of treated cows get clinical mastitis, a common udder
infection. Treating them with antibiotics increases the change of
residue in milk. Organic milk is widely available.
Bell Peppers - The FDA found that in 1993, 38% of the peppers from
Mexico, which provides 98% of the US, had two or more toxic
Bananas - Costa Rica uses 35% of the country's pesticide on banana
Green Beans - 60 pesticides are used on green beans. 10% of Mexican
green beans are contaminated with illegal pesticides.
Peaches - FDA cited peaches for above-average rates of illegal
pesticide violations; 5% of the crop was contaminated.
Apples - 36 different pesticides have been detected by the FDA. The
fungicide captan and the insecticide chlorpyrifos were among the 48
pesticides most frequently found in FDA testing between 1984 and
1991. After the Alar scare in the 80's, growers are leading the
integrated-pest management movement, which only resorts to chemicals
At some point, I hope we as a society start supporting safe eating habits. We can make a difference by using our dollars to support ethical food growing.
Every dollar is a vote. We can make a huge difference simply by buying from local farmers markets and local health food and grocery stores. Buy more produce! Fruits and veggies are awesome, less expensive than many other options, and support optimal health more efficiently than any other foods on the planet.
Buy non-subsidized grains like quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, and millet. When buying rice, as this great article suggests, get it from non-agri-corp sources. I use Lundbergh rice and I feel better about what I'm supporting. It is empowering to support businesses that support this planet. Everybody on this planet should be an environmentalist. It's not a political stance, it's common sense.
Thanks SpiritRaintree for all you informative posts, always a pleasure to read!
I like to buy organic, if it's on sale. I just bought some D'Anjou pears at $ .89 per pound. I needed some tomatoes though, went to my local Vitamin Cottage, and they were $6.99 per pound for organic vine and $3.99 for regular! I ended up getting some that were on sale from Mexico for $2.19 a pound, but to me that's a lot of money to pay for tomatoes!
"Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanual Kant~
The following user thanked kind2creatures for the above post:
If you want to watch a really powerful movie in honor of earth day go to net flix and rent "the dirt on Farmer Jones"
One of the best movies I've seen in long time. The story of a young man left with a huge farm, his failure, his struggle, his loss of it and how he turned it into the most highly successful coop farming venture in the US, supporting 850 families with organic farm produce in Ill.
here is his website. www.angelicorganics.com but to understand what you are looking at on this website you really need to see the movie.
and this is a site of interest also. www.localharvest.org and find out about csa and how you might support its activity.
__________________ "The nurse should be cheerful, orderly, punctual, patient, full of faith, - receptive to Truth and Love" Mary Baker Eddy
Thank you for this post, Spirit Raintree. I have been buying only organic for almost a year now. I appreciated the information about oats, because I didn't know those were a highly GM product, so I'll add that to my list when I discuss this subject with people.
I wish more people were willing to do this, to care enough about what they eat that they'd educate themselves on the chemicals they're ingesting to insist on organic foods in all that they eat. If more people did, then the mass producers would have to pay attention and get more ethical in their growing processes, or face going out of business. Instead, we have the WHO and the FDA trying to put organic producers out of business.
Only about another month and my local outdoor Farmers Market will be
opening up - hopefully! I support them from late May until they close down
in the Fall. I'm already salivating just thinking about it!
May you always have..Love to Share, Health to Spare, and Friends that Care!