Here’s a piece of eye-opening information that could possibly save your life.
The 2010 US President’s Cancer Panel Report clearly stated that environmental toxins, including chemicals used in farming are the main causes of cancers. It recommended that people consume food grown without pesticides, fertilisers and growth hormones.
This report was written by eminent scientists and medical specialists in the field, published by the US Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Health and the National Cancer Institute.
The majority of people get most of their exposure to pesticides through food, especially fresh fruits and vegetables.
In Australia more than 7200 registered pesticides, fungicides and herbicides are used in the food production industry
Most agricultural and veterinary chemicals leave residues in food. This is why residue tolerance levels called the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) are set for these chemicals.
When animal testing shows that a certain dose level of poison has no observable ill effects, that dose level forms the basis for determining the ADI. Authorities then claim that any residue levels below the ADI are too low to cause health problems.
Governments also place legal limits on the level of pesticide residues known as the Maximum Residue Level (MRL) that can be present in food.
The MRL is usually estimated by testing individual pesticides on rats. However, many studies have shown that most conventionally grown foods have a cocktail of pesticides and other chemical residues instead of just individual chemicals.
The 20th Australian Total Diet Survey conducted by the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) detected about 36 different pesticide residues in foods, even in infant food.
Most agricultural poisons also leave residues of breakdown chemicals when they degrade. There is virtually no testing to detect the residues of these breakdown chemicals in our food.
Most agricultural poisons are mixtures of one or more active ingredients and other so-called ‘inert’ mostly toxic chemicals such as solvents and surfactants. Only the active ingredients are individually tested to determine a safety level for the ADI.
The actual registered product, which is the mixture of chemicals used by farmers, is not tested to determine the safety levels in our food. Farmers also tend to use a combination of pesticides together with synthetic fertilisers in food production.
What about long term safety studies?
Most of the 7200 registered pesticides in Australia are not tested for long term health effects such as reproductive problems, birth defects, hormonal disruption, nerve damage, immune system disorders and cancers.
A good body of scientific research is showing that repeated exposures to cocktails of small amounts of synthetic chemicals have a range of adverse health effects including disruptions to the immune, hormonal and nervous systems.
Studies have linked agricultural and other synthetic chemicals to increases in autoimmune diseases and cancers such as lymphoma, leukaemia, breast, uterine and prostate cancers.
What about children who eat food with pesticide residues?
Infants and children are more susceptible to the effects of chemicals due to their larger intake of food per kilogram of body weight, narrower range of foods consumed, increased intake of more high risk foods such as fruits and vegetables and the reduced ability of their developing organs to eliminate toxins.
Until the age of six, a child’s body has more water and less fat than an adult’s. In an adult, fat tissues trap and store pesticide residues, but in a child with a lesser amount of fat tissue, more toxins will be circulating in the blood. A child’s immature liver and kidneys have a reduced ability to break down these toxins.
The Minimum Residue Levels for pesticides do not take into account the combination effect of eating a variety of these residues or the differences between children and adults.
Many scientists believe these exposures of minute quantities of pesticides are very significant for children. Independent studies have shown that exposure to amounts more than 1000 times lower than previously regarded as safe caused serious health and developmental problems.
In Part 2, we will discuss what we can do to protect ourselves from these toxic chemicals. Join us in our conversation with the President of the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements. You won’t want to miss this!
Together, let us say ‘No’ to pesticide residues in our food!
Dr Esther Lok
Disclaimer: All advice may not be construed as medical advice or instruction and is not meant to replace the advice of your medical practitioner. Information has been compiled from the author’s personal experiences and own research into multiple existing public references and previously published scientific studies. While all care is taken, information is not warranted as accurate and The Organics Institute and Dr Esther Lok cannot be held liable for any errors and omissions.