Nov 01 2013
Top 10 Reasons To Stop Using Pesticides
Whether it’s the proven harmful effects on our health and ecosystems or the lack of regulatory oversight, there are just too many reasons to not stop using pesticides. Here are the Top 10:
1) Pesticides don’t solve pest problems.
If they did we wouldn’t repeatedly use them, now would we? Americans use more than a billion pounds of pesticides each year to combat pests on farm crops, in homes, places of business, schools, parks, hospitals, and other public places. YUCK! Instead, it would be wise to change the conditions that make pests thrive.
2) Pesticides are hazardous to our health.
Imagine, some people don’t believe this! According to the Environmental Protection Agency (who regularly sleeps with all of the pharmaceutical companies), adverse effects of pesticide exposure range from mild symptoms of dizziness and nausea to serious, long-term neurological, developmental, and reproductive disorders.
3) Pesticides cause special problems for children.
Let’s remember that for their size, children drink more water and eat more food and drink than adults, and both of these can be (and often are) contaminated with pesticides. Their play increases their potential exposure. Imagine, for instance, your child playing on turf or on a grassy lawn or park treated with pesticides.
4) Pesticides contaminate our food.
Even after peeling and washing fruits and veggies, about 60 percent of our produce still contains more than one pesticide, says the USDA.
5) Pesticides are particularly hazardous for farmers, farm workers, and people who live near them.
There are no comprehensive systems for keeping track of the number and type of pesticide illnesses in the U.S., but research shows that farmers and farmworkers face risks of acute poisoning and long-term illness.
Because agricultural pesticides account for over 75 percent of total U.S. pesticide use, farmers and farmworkers are often exposed to large amounts of pesticides. EPA has estimated that between 10 and 20 thousand pesticide-related illnesses occur among farmers and farmworkers every year, but the agency believes that these large numbers are actually serious underestimates.
Mothers, meanwhile, who live near farms and are exposed to insecticides are more likely to have children with ADHD.
6) Pesticides are dangerous to pets.
Pesticide poisoning of pets is common. For example, in 1990 the American Association of Poison Control Centers received over 11,000 calls regarding pesticide-poisoned pets. Only antifreeze causes more pet poisoning deaths than rodent control pesticides and organophosphate insecticides.
Exposure to herbicide-treated lawns and gardens increases the risk of bladder cancer by four to seven times in Scottish Terriers, according to a study by Purdue University veterinary researchers. Since when do canines get cancer?
7) Pesticides contaminate our water.
According to a national study, 90 percent of our nation’s urban streams are contaminated with pesticides.
8) Pesticides are not good for fish and birds.
When pesticides contaminate water they can be particularly toxic to fish. In addition to fish, other marine or freshwater animals are endangered by pesticide contamination. A pesticide’s capacity to harm fish and aquatic animals is largely a function of its (1) toxicity, (2) exposure time, (3) dose rate, and (4) persistence in the environment.
It is clear that some chemicals have the potential to affect entire food chains. Routine environmental use of neonicotinoids, for instance, perpetuates the propensity for runoff, groundwater infiltration, and the cumulative and largely irreversible damage to invertebrates, all of which raise significant environmental concerns.
9) Pesticide “Health & Safety Testing” is conducted by chemical companies.
As we mention in Vanishing of the Bees, this is a bad case of the fox guarding the hen house. The Environmental Protection Agency does not conduct independent studies. They rely on the chemical companies to do due diligence. And my oh my, what a surprise that they find all the poisons relatively safe. Well, be certain that doesn’t mean a thang!
10) Pesticides just have too many secrets.
Where are pesticides used? When? How much? What’s in them? We almost never have good answers to these questions. But we do know many persist in the environment and that they synergize when combined. And inactive ingredients are really not inactive at all.
Maryam Henein is an investigative journalist, professional researcher, and producer of the award-winning documentary Vanishing of the Bees.
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