Many of you coming to this site have asked the question, “is eating organic really worth it?”. My answer, “what's your health worth? What's your life worth?” For me, yes it's certainly worth it.
I've been meaning to write an article on this topic for a while now, but I've just come across an article on Dr Mercola's site that does a great job of addressing the question, I'd like to share some of it with you, as well as some of my recent experiences with pesticides.
Here's an excerpt from the article:
Pesticides and Your Health
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 90 percent of fungicides, 60 percent of herbicides and 30 percent of insecticides are known to cause cancer.
Lab studies also indicate pesticides can cause other serious health problems, including:
- Birth defects, miscarriages and stillbirths
- Learning disorders
- Aggressive behavior
- Nerve damage
- Cancer of the breast, prostate and lymphatic system
Aside from concern about how “safe” a government’s pesticide safety standards really are, the EPA also provides this disclaimer: “You and your family have a right to know under the law that in certain cases, such as economic loss to farmers, a pesticide not meeting the safety standard may be authorized.”
This means you can reasonably expect during your lifetime that you and your family will be exposed to unsafe levels of pesticides in your food, even by EPA standards.
Vegetables and fruits aren’t the only foods contaminated by pesticides. Factory farm animals eat feed full of pesticides, and these toxins accumulate in their flesh over the course of their lifetimes. When you eat factory-farmed meat, you’re ingesting not only the pesticides from the flesh, but also antibiotics and hormones.
This issue has recently had a serious impact in my own life. I live on a 2 acre small holding, in the middle of commercial sheep farming country. Even though we are growing our heirloom fruit and vegetables organically, and buying in organic dry goods, household products and other things we don't yet produce ourselves, we've recently been hit hard by the fallout (known as spray drift) from neighbors who use pesticides such as roundup. Our newly planted heirloom fruit and nut trees have leaf and blossom burn and are dying, our dogs were throwing up all their meals for 2 days, we have been very sick for 10 days and recovering, but still feeling the effects.
The amazing thing is that the neighbors who have done all this damage, did similar last year, after we had nicely asked them to take care with their agri-chemicals to ensure that they come onto our land. We had major damage in our vegie garden (the orchard wasn't yet planted) and the yard around our house, we were sick for days.
I watched from a window in disbelief as our neighbor, who had appeared to be showing some consideration while we were watching, came right up to the boundary fence to spray thistles (which we had volunteered to grub out by hand for him), with the wind was blowing our way, just minutes after he saw our truck leave. We normally go together, to share driving He didn't realize that only one of us had left. When he looked up from his spraying and saw me standing in our yard he quickly sped back home on his ATV, not to be seen again that day.
This same neighbor sprays these toxic chemicals, wearing absolutely no protective gear, sometimes from a machine that sprays jets up into the air not more than a meter behind his head.
Having watched a lot of people spraying pesticides in the 4 years I've lived rurally and noticing only very few with any protective gear on, I've come to the conclusion that in general the people using these toxic chemicals don't believe there is any hazard involved. Makes sense doesn't it? If you knew the consequences, would you spray these poisons on a regular basis with no attempt at protecting yourself?
Based on my experiences, and what I've witnessed, I really don't trust that most of the people who are using pesticides/herbicides are going to bother to keep the usage within ‘safe' limits. They have no concept of the dangers, how can safety even be a consideration?
The more I live in the rural community, the more shocked and disgusted I am at the state of conventional, commercial farming practices that produces the food we put into our bodies.
I've always been an advocate of fresh, local, organic food. But I too have fallen into the trap of thinking, “it's so much more expensive, I can't afford it”. When I think about it now, I can't help but feel deep regret at the damage I've already caused in my body. I try to just let it go, and move forward, but with a new, much stronger commitment to eat the absolute healthiest diet I can. And I can tell you, the difference is amazing!
Eating a raw, vegan, organic diet of freshly picked (you don't get any more local than your own kitchen garden) fruits and vegetables, along with nuts and seeds and homemade fermented foods, I am experiencing a level of health that makes me realize what an adverse impact these pesticides and herbicides have on my mental as well as physical health.
Having been so healthy through my own efforts, and then getting exposed to these toxic chemicals via spray drift I'm seeing all those old symptoms come back. From the list above I definitely experience aggressive behavior, learning disabilities in the form of inability to concentrate, impaired memory, and inability to focus on and understand what I'm reading. I am convinced that much (if not all) of the aggressiveness, violence and craziness that we see so often in the world today is caused by the pesticides and other toxins we humans have put into the food we eat.
We humans may have no natural predators, but we are our own worst enemy.
If you care at all about your health, or your family's health, and since you're here I'm assuming that you do, I highly recommend reading of the entire article:
Most Vegetables and Fruits Have ‘Unacceptable' Levels of Pesticides. After you do, you'll be better informed to decide for yourself if organic is really worth it.