Poison Pesticides Undermine Organic Health

New studies and a documentary reinforce a key organic message: pesticides are damaging to children and adults.

Education and marketing are never-ending challenges. Organic food production and sales continue to grow strongly, yet its proponents encounter many critics and much public confusion. New reports on what may be familiar to organic advocates can have a powerful impact on others.

Common agricultural pesticides (specifically, organophosphate insecticides), which are prohibited in organic production, are linked to diminished memory, IQ, and reasoning. Three recently-announced studies provide additional evidence of the benefits of organic agriculture and the damage being done by common agricultural pesticides. Impaired neurological functioning and delayed cognitive development were shown to occur from both dietary and environmental exposure to common agricultural pesticides.

On April 22, 2011, the Organic Trade Association (www.ota.com) summarized the findings of these peer-reviewed studies, which were funded by the National Institute of Health and published online by Environmental Health Perspectives. The OTA summary is on its home page, while the three studies are available in their entirety at:
http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/home.action. A useful summary of the studies was produced by The Organic Center: http://www.organic-center.org/news_archive/April2011final.htm

With a similar message, but much more vivid, is a film first released in 2010. "Living Downstream" highlights the impact of carcinogens, many of them in agricultural chemicals. It is a feature-length documentary based on the book of the same title by ecologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, who is campaigning to get carcinogens abolished. Find our more at Steingraber’s website: http://steingraber.com/film.

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