Why do we/should we buy organic


Many pesticides developed for conventional agriculture have revealed themselves as risky in terms of human health and environmental impact.

Some banned compounds:

  • dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane,
  • chlordane,
  • carbofuran and
  • captan.

Sound unfamiliar? Maybe you need the names of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides formulated with them:

  • DDT,
  • Termite Killer,
  • Furadan,
  • Rose Disease Control.

Your shaded yard may have become fully sunny in one of the most recent bans. That was when the herbicide Imprelis killed not only lawn weeds but large trees across much of the continent before being withdrawn through EPA action.

Toxic cocktails

The effects of chemical cocktails are also suspect, even when the components have been judged individually safe. Unfortunately, it's a much more complicated process to prove synergistic effects.


Even if we don't use pesticides personally

Producing, transporting and applying chemicals cause environmental problems. You've probably read or heard of train crashes that cause whole community evacuation, spills that make an entire river into toxic soup, or new neurological disorders and cancers attributed to chronic chemical exposure. If we can reduce pesticide use we can reduce these risks.

We can scrub our food before eating with appropriate soaps or peel outer layers to remove the materials that contain the most pesticide residue. However, it's wonderful to simply rinse an apple under water to wash away natural dust, then safely enjoy the benefits of the fiber-rich peel!

By the way: "Natural" products, including some considered acceptable in organic food production, are not necessarily safer. Rotenone is lethal in tiny doses and nicotine is one of the most potent neurotoxins known. Even if there is no residue on the food we buy, those who've handled that chemical along the way were at risk. Organic food production needs our consumer dollars to keep funding new ways of doing things.

For the children

Can we say this next item without sounding like your grandmother? Ah well, she was right:  Starving children in other countries would cry to see you being picky. A blemished leaf can be rinsed and eaten. A bad spot in a peach can be cut out.

Furthermore, today those starving children may be part of your food chain, as workers in the fields of nations poorer that yours. It's not uncommon in those less-regulated countries for aerial sprays to be made while workers are in the field. Included and legal there are are substances banned in the U.S.A. So the production of that perfect banana may include hazardous chemicals rained on field workers, including children, exposing them to pesticides we've learned are too risky to allow.