Why You Can’t Wash Pesticides off Your Food Anymore

girl chasing bubble

our children deserve safe, healthy food

The other day I watched a friend soaking her blueberries in water before she gave them to her baby.  She mentioned she was doing it because of the pesticides.  This image has troubled me for a few days now.  I compare it to memories of filming beekeepers in Canada concerned about the losses of their bees. We ventured upon fields of blueberries that would be treated with the newest class of pesticides, the neonicotinoids.  Neonics for short.  See the “nicotin” in the name? That is because they are based on a synthetic form of nicotine.  They are neurotoxins (supposedly only to insects) And most importantly to this post, they are systemic.

What does systemic mean?  It means that when applied to the plant the pesticide grows throughout entire body of the plant.  It shows up inside the leaves, it shows up inside the pollen, it shows up inside the blueberries.  And it can’t be washed off.

USDA public domain image Number K7229-19 from the library of congress photographer, Scott Bauer

USDA public domain image Number K7229-19 from the library of congress photographer, Scott Bauer

I am concerned about all the mothers out there who think they are doing the right thing and washing the pesticides off food for their children, when the truth is, in a lot of cases it can not be done anymore.  The pesticides are inside the food.

The chemical companies claim that neonics are some miracle substances that are only toxic to insects and not mammals but new studies are finding that to be suspect.  Neonics are the number one selling pesticides in the world and they are on everything (including your cat and dog).

man spraying onionsusda public domain  library of congress Image Number D903-1

old fashioned way: spraying onions- usda public domain library of congress Image #D903-1

One of the reason farmers love these pesticides because there is less spraying and therefore people complain less.  But just because we cannot see the pesticide being applied does not mean it is not there.  They have only made application of the poisons less visible.  These pesticides are very persistent in the soil and do not break down easily.  Plants can uptake this pesticide through their roots and into the body of the plant for a long time, increasing toxicity. (Even the next years crop have been shown to uptake!)

the government has been promoting pesticides for a long time... Pilots Study Map of Fields June 1942Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress) Collier, John, photographer.

the government has been promoting pesticides for a long time… Pilots Study Map of Fields June 1942 Farm Security Administration -Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress) Collier, John photographer.

1942 Bridgeton, New Jersey. Seabrook Farm. Dusting with an airplane. Dust or insecticide is spread by low flying planes onto crops to control various insect pestsFarm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress) John Collier, photographer

1942 Bridgeton, New Jersey. Seabrook Farm. “Dusting with an airplane. Dust or insecticide is spread by low flying planes onto crops to control various insect pests Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress) John Collier, photographer

July 1938 "Duster plane spraying insecticide over a field of beans. The mechanic in the foreground indicates the outside limit of the last "swath" which has settled by the time the plane returns. Note how low the plane flies. Beanfields like this, hundreds of acres in extent, are plowed, planted cultivated and even harvested by tractors. Seabrook Farms, Bridgeton, and Vineland, New Jersey"Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)

July 1938 “Duster plane spraying insecticide over a field of beans. Seabrook Farms, Bridgeton, and Vineland, New Jersey” Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)

I know it’s easy to think that the government would be keeping us safe on this matter, but sadly it’s just not true.  As I explained in more detail in my previous post “How I Grew to Love Bees and Why They Matter to Everyone Who Eats” no independent tests are done for pesticide safety and the process is basically a form of legalized corruption.

spraying canola- having to wear full protection to apply pesticides to food people are going to eat!  USDA Image Number K7433-13 library of congress photo by Scott Bauer

spraying canola- having to wear full protection to apply pesticides to food people are going to eat! USDA Image Number K7433-13 library of congress photo by Scott Bauer

Also troubling, some of the neonics were approved with “emergency exemptions”.

man spraying pesticides 1890-1925 library of congress  [London : Allied Forces Supreme Headquarters, Psychological Warfare Division, 1944]

man spraying pesticides 1890-1925 library of congress [London : Allied Forces Supreme Headquarters, Psychological Warfare Division, 1944]

For those who are interested here’s a quick breakdown of the the cycle of pesticides:

A pesticide has been out on the market for a while.  Science begins to prove it’s toxic because people are getting sick, it’s been destroying the environment, making frogs grow extra legs, etc… With enough attention and protest the chemical is banned but that’s okay to the chemical companies because they can claim that farmers will not be able to function with the loss of their current pesticide and people will starve.  The government will hand out “emergency exemptions” so the chemical companies can push a new pesticide on the market with incomplete or inadequate testing.  Eventually, after years of glorious and profitable sales, the new pesticide will be found toxic and banned but that’s okay because by then the chemical companies will already have a newer pesticide in the pipeline for replacement.

Even when there is no “emergency exemptions” the testing for safety is still left to the company who stands to gains billions of profits in sales from the pesticide.

A lot of labs don’t even know how to test for the presence of neonics.

Meanwhile we are left with dead and disappearing animals and pollinators, polluted rivers & drinking water, and poisoned food for ourselves and our children.

Pesticides were developed to utilize excess nerve gas from WWII  US Flag and Gas Masks 1942 Library of Congress- Chemical Warfare Service

herbicides and pesticides were developed to utilize chemicals from WWII
US Flag and Gas Masks 1942 Library of Congress- Chemical Warfare Service

We have been allowing chemical manufacturers to push this method of pesticides on us instead of facing up to that fact that there is something wrong with our entire system of farming.  We need to switch to organic sustainable methods that do not pollute the environment and poison people.   The more people who eat organic the cheaper it will get! It needs to become the norm.

The world can be fed with organic healthy food.  We are an extremely resourceful, capable and intelligent species.  In this day and age, with all our knowledge and technology, to say that we can only provide food for ourselves in harmful ways is borderline ludicrous.

Maybe it will take mothers getting involved for us as a society to realize that putting poisons on our food is an insane way to eat.

U.S. Farm Security 1936 Feb. or Mar. Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California from Library of Congress Photos Administration/Office of War Information Black & White PhotographsDorothea Lange, photographer

U.S. Farm Security 1936 Feb. or Mar. Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California from Library of Congress Photos Administration/Office of War Information Black & White Photographs Dorothea Lange, photographer

1870 New Symrna Beekeeping library of congress digital collection

1870 New Symrna Beekeeping library of congress digital collection

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Why You Can’t Wash Pesticides off Your Food Anymore

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s