Pin It

Pesky Pesticides 

I interrupt my food stamp diet posts to present: The Evil of Pesticides. Yep, those chemicals that are sprayed all over our foodstuffs, but which the government holds to be safe for human consumption.

This morning, I came across an article called, "Pesticides May be Making Kids Sick at School." One of the first paragraphs explains, " Associated Press investigation has found that over the past decade,hundreds, possibly thousands, of schoolchildren in California and otheragricultural states have been exposed to farm chemicals linked tosickness, brain damage and birth defects."

Many of these cases are caused by pesticide drift. The chemicals are sprayed on farmer's fields and the wind catches the residue, bringing it along for a ride. I would imagine that farm workers (many of whom, in California anyway, may not speak English and may not have adequate medical care), are also affected. 

I understand that U.S. agriculture is currently dependent on pesticides, but there are so many problems with their use that I get all riled up when I think about 'em. Just a few of the myriad concerns: potential, undiscovered health risks, farmer and citizen safety, preservation of pollinating insects in a country where bees are dying for unknown reasons, the health and safety of birds and other animals, etc.

Here's more from the article:  "Research on pregnant women exposed to common pesticides has suggestedhigher rates of premature birth, and poor neurological development andsmaller head circumferences among their babies."

And even more: After a sixth grader collapsed at school, her problems were dismissed as dehydration. But then it happened again. "Investigators found her clothes were soaked in the pesticide EndosulfanI; it had been picked up from residue on the grass and absorbed intoher bloodstream through her skin. Officials later found five otherpesticides on school grounds..."

Even if, as we're told, the pesticide residue on our fruits and vegetables isn't harmful at all, that doesn't mean the manufacture or use of the products is benign. It's just another reason that opting for non-sprayed produce, whether certified organic or not, is a political act.

I'm going to stop before my head explodes. Oh wait, one more thing...experts also think that pesticides (and herbicides) may be one cause of Parkinson's disease.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It

More by Suzanne Podhaizer

About The Author

Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the former Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a goose,... more


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Seven Days moderates comments in order to ensure a civil environment. Please treat the comments section as you would a town meeting, dinner party or classroom discussion. In other words, keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

foodie poll

What are you MOST interested in learning more about?

  • Food-related events, festivals and other gatherings
  • Bars and restaurants — where should I eat out?
  • Farms and agriculture — what's up with the people producing our food?
  • Issues: What are the social, environmental and economic impacts of my food choices?
  • How to cook better meals at home

View Results

Latest in Food News

Recent Comments

Social Club

Like Seven Days contests and events? Join the club!

See an example of this newsletter...

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2016 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So Champlain St Ste 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation