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Organic Consumers Association

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The Myths of Safe Pesticides You Should Know

    Most of us have no concept as to the amount and the variety of chemicals sprayed onto the produce we eat. To shed light on this important topic, André Leu wrote the book, The Myths of Safe Pesticides.

    He has a long history in organic agriculture and his book tells a frightening but important story—we’re being exposed to more pesticides than we ever suspected, and safety testing is sorely lacking.

    In the US, there are about 80,000 registered chemicals used. Of these, only a few hundred are actually tested for safety, and even that testing is considered to be inadequate by most toxicologists.

    Part of the problem is that most chemicals are tested in isolation. In real world application however, most of them are using combination, and no one’s testing for the synergies between the chemicals.

        “This is a very important point,” André says. “There are two aspects of that: first, the product that a farmer buys is a cocktail of different chemicals.

        You have what they call the active ingredient in the pesticide and then you have the other synergists, adjuvants, and other chemicals like solvents that are also toxic...

        But they only test the one ingredient they call the active ingredient and they ignore the others by calling them inert. The actual combination that is sold and used on our food is not tested.”

    Things are about to get even more disconcerting with the recent approval of a new generation of genetically engineered crops that are resistant to even more toxic pesticides, including dicamba and 2,4-D—the active ingredient in Agent Orange.

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