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Sunday, November 23, 2008

A link between Pesticides and Western Disease

Hundreds of people genuinely ask us, “Why Organic? Why Organic Cotton? ” We used to think that 100% cotton was a good thing and we didn’t know how polluting (and therefore damaging) conventional cotton is. We now know why Organic is important – not only organic food but all things organic. We will start with definitions by Wikipedia Encyclopedia;

Organic products are made according to certain production standards, meaning they are grown without the use of conventional pesticides and artificial fertilizers, free from contamination by human or industrial waste, and processed without ionizing radiation or food additives.[1] If livestock are involved, they must be reared without the routine use of antibiotics and without the use of growth hormones, and generally fed a healthy diet. In most countries, organic produce may not be genetically modified.

“A pesticide is a substance or mixture of substances used to kill a pest.[1] A pesticide may be a chemical substance, biological agent (such as a virus or bacteria), antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest. Pests include insects, plant pathogens, weeds, molluscs, birds, mammals, fish, nematodes (roundworms) and microbes that compete with humans for food, destroy property, spread or are a vector for disease or cause a nuisance. Although there are some benefits to the use of pesticides, there are also drawbacks, such as potential toxicity to humans and other animals.”

Pesticides Impacting Public Health:

Many of the most common cotton pesticides are scientifically linked to serious health problems and toxicity in water, air and soil. The most toxic pesticide chemicals used on conventional cotton: Acephate, Aldicarb, Chlorpyrifos, Dicofol, Endosulfan, Metam Sodium, Oxamyl, Pearquat Dichloride, Phorate, Prometryn, Propargite

Environmental factors are key drivers in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, according to the authors of a new report, Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging, released October 23rd 2008.

The full report, Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging, was published jointly by Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Science and Environmental Health Network and is available online at:

“Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as other chronic illnesses referred to in the report as the 'Western disease cluster'– diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome (each of these diseases in turn increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease) is being driven by dramatic alterations over the past 50 to 100 years in the U.S. food supply, an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, and exposure to toxic chemicals.”

“A large body of data links exposure to a variety of pesticides with increased risks for Parkinson’s disease. Evidence also links chronic low dose exposure to a number of pesticides – primarily in the work setting – with subsequent cognitive decline, such as impaired memory and attention. A study in France found that a history of occupational exposure to pesticides more than doubled the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Exposure to some pesticides has also been linked to dramatically increased risks for diabetes, pre-diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.”

As reported by the Institute of Science in Society conventional and GM cotton accounts for 16 percent of global chemical pesticide use, more than any other single crop, and reaps US$2 billion for the chemical industry every year. Of that, US$112 million is spent on Aldicarb, an acutely toxic pesticide classified by the World Health Organization as “WHO1a”, or “extremely hazardous.” One drop is sufficient to kill an adult male. Yet one million kilos of Aldicarb was applied to cotton crops in the USA in 2003. And, at least 1 million agricultural workers around the world are hospitalized because of acute pesticide poisoning each year.”

Conventional cotton farming spreads over 1/3 of a pound of pesticides on just enough cotton for ONE pair of jeans. 5,849,172 pounds of chemicals were used on California conventional cotton in 2005 based on the Pesticide Action Network.

The chemicals are sprayed on the cotton and they blow away in the wind and get carried away by the rain polluting our air, water, soil, our food supply and harming the field workers.

What is Organic Cotton?

Organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Third-party certification organizations verify that organic producers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production.

Composted manures and cover crops replace synthetic fertilizers; innovative weeding strategies are used instead of herbicides; beneficial insects and trap crops control insect pests; and alternatives to toxic defoliants prepare plants for harvest. The primary goal of organic agriculture is to optimize the health and productivity of interdependent communities of soil life, plants, animals and people.

What can you do? Each of us, together, can make a difference.

1. Tell your friends about Organic and why it is important

2. Purchase Organic whenever possible. This supports the farmers and manufacturers that are trying to bring about a change in the marketplace

3. Learn more – visit the links in this article

4. Join organizations that are working to educate and assist in the transition from conventional products to organic products.

5. Be Safe, Be Happy, Think Good Thoughts and Feel the Goodness in Chemical Free!!

Information is compiled from all the sources listed above by Tiea Zehnbauer of Zehn Naturals

It’s Easy to be Green with Zehn

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