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We've compiled some articles as to why the use of pesticides on the food you eat is of concern. Click on the links below to read more.

Of course there is one sure fire way to avoid pesticides on the food you eat....EAT CERTIFIED ORGANIC!!

Breast Cancer Cluster Linked to Crop Chemicals

Monash University PhD student Dr. Narges Khanjani has revealed a possible link between the use of organochlorine pesticides and breast cancer in Victoria's north-east. Her study shows up to 48,000 women in the Ovens and Murray Shire could have been exposed to the chemicals which were mainly used in the production of tobacco crops. "Because this is the only region in Victoria to grow tobacco, the number of women possibly exposed is much higher here than anywhere else in the state," Dr. Khanjani said.

"Although women traditionally don't work in the fififi elds, they have been exposed to the chemicals which have contaminated the food chain and have been unknowingly consumed in produce such as meat, milk and eggs. Once organochlorines are absorbed into the body they are not easily secreted or broken down and are stored in fat tissue such as breast fat."

The study was based on samples of contaminated breast milk collected in the 1990's by Associate Professor Malcolm Sim from Monash University's Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine and data provided by the Cancer Council of Victoria. "We used the 800 milk samples to identify areas of high contamination in Victoria and compared it to the cancer data. We found that the Ovens and Murray Shire was the most highly contaminated region as it showed the highest incidences of breast cancer compared with any other area in Victoria," Dr. Khanjani said.

Most organochlorines were phased out in the late 1980's and early 1990's but some chemicals in this group including Atrazine and Triazine are still used today. "Chemicals like DDT have a half life of about 10 years so we would expect to see a reduction in the levels of exposure in the north-east over time and young people won't have the same degree of exposure to these organochlorines," Dr. Khanjani said. For further information contact Ms. Ingrid Sanders in Media Communications on +61 3 9905 9201.

Similar reports have come from another region of Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Medical Association's (AMA) public health committee is currently considering a report from its Tasmanian branch detailing a possible link between chemical exposure and cancer rates. The report reveals a sixfold increase in endocrine cancer since 1995 and a sharp increase in cancer of the digestive tract over the past fifififi ve years. (ABC News)

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Pesticides Destroy Vital Pollinators

Neonicotinoid insecticides are thought to have caused the deaths of more than 90 billion bees worldwide over the past 10 years, reducing honey production by 60 percent and leading to a dangerous shortage of pollinators. Two such products have been produced by the German company Bayer CropScience since 1991, and are leading sellers for the multinational. It is a systemic toxin which works its way from the seed throughout the plant, infiltrating the pollen and nectar, and is extremely persistent in soil. The Natural Resources Defence Council has filed a lawsuit against the EPA to disclose the studies Bayer submitted to gain approval of chlothianidin in the U.S. According to ENS, “NRDC attorneys believe that the EPA has evidence of connections between pesticides and the mysterious bee disappearance.

On August 26, the German-based Coalition against Bayer Dangers (CBD) filed court papers accusing Bayer AG with "marketing dangerous pesticides and thereby accepting the mass death of bees all over the world." The lawsuit was co-filed with German beekeepers who claim Bayer's clothianidin pesticide was responsible for mass die-offs.

Bayer's application for approval of clothianidin was rejected by France (which also banned Bayer's imidacloprid) after the death of 90 billion bees over the past decade destroyed 60% of French honey production. Environmental News Service reports "the coalition alleges that the start of sales of imidacloprid and clothianidin coincided with the occurrence of large-scale bee deaths in many European and American countries."

Source Rodale and PAN

Did You Know?

Many vegetable, fruit, nut and seed crops require insect pollination. In a single day, one bee makes 12 or more trips from the hive, visiting several thousand flowers. This makes honey bees the most valuable agent for cross-pollinating crops.

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Pesticides Linked to Diabetes

A study in the respected British medical journal, The Lancet adds to mounting evidence that pesticide exposure is linked to diabetes. This study gives credibility to several others that have been published showing that exposure to small amount of pesticides can cause diabetes. Source: PANNA

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Toxicity Levels in Children

Researches at the University of Washington conducted a study to measure the concentration of organophosphorus insecticides in the urine of pre-school children. Most children had sizeable concentrations well over Environmental Protection Agency recommended "safe" levels.

As in many scientific investigations, a few children were found to be atypical. In this case, their toxic levels were greatly under that of the other children measured. Interviewing the parents of these rare cases, researchers learned that their parents chose certified organic foods for their children. With this lead, the researchers expanded their trial to evaluate equal numbers of children eating conventional non-organic diets and organic diets. Again measuring urine samples, they found a huge six-fold increase of organophosphate contamination in the conventional non-organic group compared to the organic group.

Organophosphorus (or organophosphate) insecticides were originally developed in Germany during World War II. They act to inhibit an enzyme fundamental for nerve transmission in humans, other mammals and insects. It takes a much higher dose to kill a human than to kill an insect, however, there is robust scientific literature showing the ability of organophosphates to impact human developmental activity at far below lethal doses, due in part to these compounds' tendency to bio-accumulate within animals.

Children are at much greater risk than adults due to their immature detoxification system. As children consume more food per kilo of body weight than adults, their intake of organophosphorus and other toxins is proportionally more. Their organs and brains are still developing and are at greater risk.

The study concluded that consuming organic food "lowered exposure from above to below EPA guidance levels of safety, thus reducing the risk of harm from uncertain to negligible."

Curl et. al. 2003. Organophosphorus pesticide exposure or urban and suburban pre-school children with organic and conventional diets.
"Environ health perspectives"111(3):377-382.

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Children's Drawings Reveal Significance of Chemical Exposure

Dr. Elizabeth Guillette from the University of Florida has studied the influence of agrichemicals on the development of the Yaqui Indians children in Mexico. She identified within the Yaqui tribe one group which had accepted the introduction of chemical agriculture and has resided in a valley where it is practiced extensively. Another Yaqui group moved up into the surrounding hills to practice traditional lifestyles, avoiding chemical agriculture. Everything was the same between these villages - genes, diet, lifestyle, climate etc. She used anthropological and pediatric assessments of the children to assess the impact of pesticide residue on their health.

Guillette's studies identified that the valley children who were exposed to pesticide residues in their diet, homes and environment lagged in every measurement of development including coordination, learning and memory. Among the skills tested was the childrens ability to draw a person. Many of the valley children could not draw the basic elements of a human even at 4 and 5 years old, putting them into a group of people believed to have little or no potential to develop appreciable social skills. The above illustrations by 53 - 55 month old ( 4-year-old) children shows typical examples of the drastic developmental difference associated with valley (chemically exposed) and hill people who were largely unexposed to chemical agriculture.

Yaqui tribesmen that avoided agrichemicals were found to have pre-school children with superior coordination, learning and memory than valley tribesmen who associated with agriculture chemical production areas.

Guillette et. al. 1998. An anthropological approach to the evaluation of preschool children exposed to pesticides in Mexico. Environ. Health Perspectives 106(6):

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Beware what's in your strawberries

They can be big, juicy, sweet and relatively cheap but almost all [non-organic] store-bought strawberries contain pesticide residues, some from several different chemicals, tests show.

Consumer champion Choice has called for stricter fruit testing and warning shoppers to opt for organic berries in view of results that show widespread and varying pesticide levels.

The analysis of strawberries from 31 growers across most states showed almost all conventionally grown strawberries contained some residues. Three samples had levels above maximum limits set by the watchdog Food Standards Australia New Zealand. Seventeen of the samples had residues from more than one pesticide, and four had traces of four different chemicals in their flesh and on the skin.

AAP NewcastleHerald 30th January 2008

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Newborn babies have 287 chemicals in their blood

The Environmental Working Group(EWG) has released a study focusing specifically on chemical exposures infants received before they were born.

EWG tested fetal cord blood of 10 healthy infants born at various locations around the U.S. in 2004, revealing exposures to a total of 287 chemicals. Many of these chemicals are linked to cancers, hormone disruption, low sperm counts, asthma, behavioral problems and a range of chronic health problems.

Body Burden, The Pollution in Newborns,
Environmental Working Group, www.ewg.org

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Pesticides Linked to a Range of Serious Illnesses

A report released in April 2004 by the Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) found consistent links to serious illnesses such as cancer, reproductive problems, and neurological diseases. Among the principal findings, the study found that pesticide exposure was associated with brain, prostate, kidney, and pancreatic cancers, non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, leukemia, nervous system effects, and fetal abnormalities.

Children in particular were found to be vulnerable to pesticides. The College made a number of recommendations for the public to reduce their exposure to pesticides, such as implementing alternative organic methods of lawn and garden care and indoor pest control. It also urged physicians to be more aware the prevalence of pesticide exposure in patients.

Find the full report at www.ocfp.on.ca

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Pesticides Boost Parkinson's Disease by 70%

A study published Dr. Alberto Ascherio, associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and his colleagues was published July issue of the Annals of Neurology found that exposure to pesticides, but not other environmental contaminants, may boost the long-term risk for developing Parkinson's disease by 70%.

The authors reviewed lifestyle surveys completed in both 1982 and in 2001 by over 143,000 participants in the U.S. "Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort," launched in 1982.

Their research confirms earlier animal studies linking pesticide exposure to motor function abnormalities and lower levels of the brain neurotransmitter dopamine. Declines in dopamine have long been associated with Parkinson's.

"This is the first large human study that shows that exposure to pesticide is associated with a higher incidence of Parkinson's," said Dr. Ascherio.

Source: Alberto Ascherio, M.D., associate professor, nutrition and epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston; Robin Elliot, executive director, Parksinon's Disease Foundation, New York City; July, 2006 issue of the Annals of Neurology.

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Low Doses of Pesticides Effect Brain Development

The current testing methods used by regulatory authorities do not evaluate pesticides for developmental neurotoxicity. This is where the compounds damage the developing nervous system in the unborn and very young children. There are numerous studies showing that pesticides at residue levels significantly lower than currently allowed thresholds cause damage to the nervous system, especially the brain, causing an array of behavioral, learning and neurological problems.

A study just published in Environmental Health Perspectives has shown that the commonly used organophosphate pesticide, diazinon, causes brain damage in the new born which is permanent. The researchers from Duke University Medical Center, USA, stated 'These results indicate that developmental exposures to apparently nontoxic doses of DZN [diazinon] compromise neural cell development and alter ACh synaptic function in adolescence and adulthood.'

Source: Environmental Health Perspectives

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Pesticides Cause Asthma

Researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University, USA have demonstrated that environmentally relevant concentrations of organophosphate pesticides (OP) increased the sensitization to allergens.

They concluded: ‘Because sensitization to allergens is characteristic of 50% of the general population and 80% of asthmatics (including children), these findings have significant implications for OP risk assessment, intervention, and treatment strategies.’
Source: Environmental Health Perspectives

An earlier study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found 'an increase of 50 percent in the prevalence of allergic asthma in all farm women who applied or mixed pesticides.' Parathion was associated with a three-fold increase in allergic asthma while malathion exposure was linked to a 60% increase.

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The Dirty Dozen

Which non-organic foods is it especially good to avoid and make an effort to buy organically?

The 12 worst foods from the point of view of number of pesticides and percentage with pesticide residues were:

  • Bread
  • Wine
  • Pears
  • Broccoli & Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Nectarines
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Apples
  • Sultanas & Raisins

Bread and wheat products are at the top of the list, with residues detected in 94.4% of 90 samples. Wheat products include bran cereal, biscuits, flour, noodles, spaghetti, wheatbix, cake, pizza, sausages, luncheon sausage, muesli, hamburger, meat pie and the batter around fish.

Chances are, you are taking in organophosphate or insecticide residues MOST of the time you eat something with non-organic flour in it. Most of these residues result from the post harvest application of a fumigant on the stored grain.

Though their effects in human beings are still being debated, the evidence is mounting. From wildlife and animal studies in laboratories, there is growing concern that these endocrine disruptors can cause developmental, reproductive, behavioural, immunological and physiological changes.

Particularly worrisome is the threat that endocrine disruptors pose on the unborn. When acting on a developing foetus at critical periods, they can cause lasting damage at minute doses, which were previously not thought to be harmful.

The young and those who suffer from chronic illness are more at risk from pesticide residues in their diet. For these people particularly, it is important to increase the amount of organic food eaten, especially those foods which are heavily sprayed.

In general, if you are trying to reduce pesticide residues in your diet, especially seek out organic bread, fruit and salad vegetables, meat and butter. It is especially important for pregnant women and women who may conceive to eat organic wheat, fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese and butter (pesticides are passed through the placenta and breast milk).

We can help protect ourselves from a toxic environment by eating organic food, and by demanding a benign system of agriculture and an economy and infrastructure that does not depend on pouring pollutants into the atmosphere, rivers and seas. From “Total Diet Survey Analysis” by Alison White

Wine is second on the list, with all 12 samples having iprodione, a fungicide in them. The good news is that the levels of vinclozolin, a known endocrine disruptor, have fallen. (It has just recently been deregistered.) The bad news is that grape growers seem to be substituting another fungicide, using more iprodione instead, a chemical cousin to vinclozolin, which can cause cancer.

Close contenders for the dirty dozen list were lettuce, dairy products, meat and potatoes.

Health effects of these pesticides

Many of the pesticides found as residues in our food have been found in independent studies to have serious long term effects including hormonal disruption, cancer, immune system suppression, nervous system damage, genetic damage and birth defects.

Children are at special risk with any substance capable of causing cancer and nervous system damage. The young are especially susceptible to the acute effects of organophosphate insecticides.

Endocrine disruption

Several pesticides can disrupt the body’s endocrine or hormonal system so crucial in growth and development. These endocrine disruptors can mimic or disrupt the normal functions of hormones, and tamper with this delicately balanced signaling system in the body, which governs a range of functions and developmental processes.


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   Why Organics?
   Myth of Safe Pesticide
   The Benefits of Organics
   Organics is Best
   Eat Organic Strawbs
   Pesticide link to
  Children Cancer
   Organics Reduces
  Exposure in Children
   Bulk Buy Club
   Juicer Demo Workshops
   Concerned about
  pesticides in your food?
   The Dirty Dozen
   Organic Feast Delivery Regions UPDATE
   Inner Health Centre
   Vital Babies