Friday, October 12, 2007
It should not be surprising that chemicals strong enough to kill insects and plant infections can be harmful to the human body and environment. There are literally hundreds of permitted pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, hormones, antibiotics and other chemical additives present in non-organic food, not to mention food additives and flavourings introduced after cultivation and in food processing. All important reasons for eating organic whole food.
Over 3,000 high-risk toxins are present in the US food supply, which by law are excluded from organic food. These include 73 pesticides classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as potential carcinogens. Pesticides also leak into the water supply - for example, a 1996 study by the Environmental Working Group found 96 per cent of all water samples taken from 748 towns across the US contained the pesticide atrazine.
Toxic metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury enter the food supply through industrial pollution of soil and groundwater and through machinery used in the processing and packaging of foods. For example, lead solder used to seal tin cans imparts residue into the food, despite the adversity to health. Cadmium has links with lung, prostate and testicular cancer and mercury is toxic to brain cells and has been linked to autism and Alzheimer's disease. Heavy metals damage nerve function, block haemoglobin production causing anaemia and contribute to lower IQ and diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Organic food safe-guards against toxic metals.
Solvents are also used in commercially processed foods which can damage white blood cells, lowering immune defense. Further, the solvents benzene and toluene, have known links with numerous cancers. Produce imported from developing countries may contain agrochemicals that have been outlawed in developed countries.