Say No to Synthetics and Pesticides in Candles
A multitude of government studies have demonstrated that residues of these chemical pesticides are still present on your food when they reach your plate.
Itís no different when you use plant based body care products or candles that have been grown with petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers - they touch your body, you inhale them and the pesticides they contain enter your blood stream. If you use candles made from commercial GMO soy that is requires significant use of petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides, your body will absorb those chemical residues.
In the study, "Food and the Environment: A Consumer's Perspective," 86 percent of respondents said they believe there is a connection between the health of the environment and their own well-being.
Even if there is no absolute proof yet that the low levels of pesticide typically found on conventional produce cause cancer, the risks of long-term exposure to those residues are still undetermined. It only makes common sense to limit your use of products that contain pesticides.
While the residue of 16 chemicals on the apple you are eating might seem insignificant, if you add up the residue on all the apples, or apple products, youíll eat in a lifetime and then factor in the residues found on all the food youíll consume in a lifetime, the numbers quickly become staggering. Today, 500 synthetic chemicals can be found in the average North Americanís blood. Moreover, in one year, the average North American will consume a total of two pounds of toxic chemicals in the form of trace residues found on their food ó two pounds of chemicals that are known deadly poisons in just one year!
Since 1945, total U.S. crop losses from insect damage have nearly doubled. During the same time, insecticide use has increased tenfold. Today, seventy-one known carcinogenic pesticides are sprayed on food crops. (In Harmony's report, "Pesticides: Losing Their Effectiveness").
Understandably, diseases that were once relatively rare have become rampant - for example, cancer, liver disease, kidney disease, Parkinsonís disease, birth defects and behavior disorders all may have their roots in chemical exposures. In fact, after ranking 29 environmental problems under its jurisdiction, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that only worker exposure to chemicals and indoor radon exposure posed a greater risk for cancer than the pesticide residues found in our food.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency's Report on Conventional Pesticides Applied to Agricultural Crops in 1994-95 each year, an estimated 911 million pounds of synthetic pesticides are applied to conventional agricultural crops throughout the United States. According to the EPA's Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, about 2.2 billion pounds of pesticides are used annually in the U.S. Pesticides are used not just for conventional crops, but also in homes, gardens, schools, offices, grocery stores, golf courses and parks.
The EPA reports that Americans ingest 167 times more dioxin every day than the acceptable daily level.
Many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. Now, the EPA considers 60% of all herbicides (weed killers), 90% of all fungicides (mold killers), and 30% of all insecticides (insect killers) as potentially cancer causing.
The EPA says that agriculture is responsible for 70% of the pollution to the country's rivers and streams caused by chemicals, erosion, and animal waste runoff.
According to a 1997 study, up to 14 percent of all occupational injuries in the agricultural sector and 10 percent of all fatal injuries can be attributed to pesticides. (International Labor Organization).
The U.S. General Accounting Office reported than only 1% of all imported fruits and vegetables are tested by the Food and Drug Administration for illegal pesticide residues. Research has yet to prove an adverse health effect from consuming the low levels of pesticides commonly found in U.S. food.
Few doubt that high doses of pesticides can cause neurological or reproductive damage in pregnant women.
Due to their small bodies and fast metabolisms, children are even more at risk. Every day, more than 1,000,000 children eat a dose of organophosphate insecticides that the federal government considers unsafe, and 100,000 eat a dose that exceeds the benchmark levels by a factor of 10 or more. Babies are now born with pesticide residues in their bodies and fed on breast milk that contains pesticide residues. With infant reproductive organs still forming and the brain developing through age 12, and with young livers and immune systems less able to rid bodies of contaminants, eating organic is more important for children and pregnant or breast-feeding women.
For these most vulnerable groups -- children and pregnant women -- going organic whenever possible for fruits and vegetables that carry the heaviest pesticide load makes sense. That's worrisome given that contaminants pose the biggest risk to children and fetuses. Pesticides have been shown to cross the placenta during pregnancy. A recent study by scientists at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health in New York found a link between pesticide use in New York apartments and impaired fetal growth.
Plants draw minerals and other nourishment from the soil up through their roots, and the minerals are deposited in the body, fruit and seeds of the plant. Plants then use these nutrients to manufacture the vitamins and phytonutrients we consume when eating a plant. Historically, farmers carefully tended and fed the soil, through a variety of natural methods, to keep it vital and healthy and replace the nutrients used by each crop. The rich soil in turn produced vital, healthy, nutrient-rich plants. With the advent of chemical fertilizers, natural soil feeding and tending declined markedly, and, as a result, there is little nourishment left in soil for plants to draw from. So not only are unwanted chemicals added, they also led to a marked reduction in the nutrient content of our food.
Fortunately, organic farms operate very differently. Organic farmers continue to focus on feeding and tending their soil. Through the use of crop rotation, cover crops, biological inoculants and compost and other organic soil amendments, organic farmers are constantly revitalizing and enriching the soil in which their crops grow. This allows organic farmers to raise plants that are not only healthy and disease and pest resistant, but also rich in the vital nutrients necessary for our good health. While we have always intuitively known that healthy soil produces healthy, nutrient-rich plants, scientists have recently become interested in confirming this.
Even if conventional foods don't turn out to be as dangerous as organic advocates claim, several recent studies have suggested that organic foods contain higher levels of vitamins than their conventionally grown counterparts. In a paper published in October in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a team from the University of California, Davis, demonstrates that organically grown tomatoes have significantly more vitamin C than conventional tomatoes. Even so, the same study shows no significant differences between conventional and organic bell peppers.
In a study done by Washington State University in Pullman, published in the April 19, 2001 issue of the journal of Nature, researchers measured the effects of an organic, a conventional and an integrated apple production system on the sustainability indicators of horticultural performance, soil quality, orchard profitability, environmental quality and energy efficiency. Taste was measured three ways. Mechanical analysis on fruit firmness at harvest and after six months storage was higher for organic than its two competitors. The ratio of sugar content to acidity, an indication of sweetness, was higher among organic apples as well. These results were then confirmed by consumer taste tests. To find out more you can go to www.nature.com, the title of the article is called 'The Sustainability of Three Apple Production Systems'. (Natural Foods Merchandiser, June 2001)
Some 98% of the peaches tested by the USDA in 2002 showed evidence of at least one pesticide (www.ams.usda.gov/science/pdp). Other repeat offenders over the years include apples, strawberries, and pears -- fruits children gobble as finger food.
Another study, from the University of Washington in Seattle, found that preschoolers fed conventional diets had six times the level of certain pesticides in their urine as those who ate organic foods. And a 2003 report from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention detected twice the level of some pesticides in the urine of children as in that of adults.
Research at Thurman State University, in Florida, found that organically grown oranges contained up to 30% more vitamin C than those grown with conventional chemical methods. The Doctorsí Data study suggests there are significant differences between organic and conventional food. This study found organic pears, apples, potatoes and wheat had, on average, over 90% more mineral content than similar conventional food. After reviewing 41 published studies, certified nutrition specialist Virginia Worthington concluded that organic crops contain substantially more of several nutrients: 27% more vitamin C, 21.5% more iron, 29.3% more magnesium and 13.6% more phosphorous. In terms of nutrition, some studies, some of which are funded by the organic-food industry, have found higher levels of antioxidants and other nutrients in organically grown corn, strawberries, peaches, tomatoes and other produce. But even if organic produce does have more antioxidants, it's not clear that they offer nutrition benefits to humans, says Alyson Mitchell, associate professor and food chemist at the University of California, Davis, who has conducted some of the studies.
Some organic advocates say certain fruits and vegetables are probably not worth the premium. For example, at the Atlanta Whole Foods, organic bananas cost 78 cents a pound, 30 cents more than regular bananas. But there's almost no health benefit to buying organic in this case, according to Charles Benbrook, technical director of the nonprofit Organic Center for Education & Promotion, founded with the support of the industry's Organic Trade Assn. Any pesticide residue is probably discarded along with the peel. However, other produce contains several times the amount of pesticides as the organic equivalents, and the residue can't be peeled or washed away.
But even then, the argument for some foods is less compelling. While 47% of the produce sampled by the USDA in 2002 had detectable pesticide residues, only 16% of grains and 15% of meat tested did. Most of the residues found in meat (almost always in the fat) were from long-banned chemicals like DDT, which remain in the environment and is not a problem organic farming methods can solve.
For organic meat, poultry, eggs, and milk, the direct health benefit is less clear. It might come down to your willingness to pay more to avoid supporting certain agricultural practices, such as antibiotic use in animals, which could promote resistant bacterial strains, or the use of growth hormones, which could prematurely wear down the animal.
Organic farming keeps harmful chemicals and pesticides out of the food we eat and beverages we drink. It also prohibits the use of antibiotics in animal feed, which are routinely used in conventional farming and is known to create dangerous antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Organic farms also benefit the farm workers who have high exposure to chemicals and synthetic pesticides.
By the year 2010, the USDA estimates that half of all U.S. farm products will come from only 1% of the farms. Itís up to us as consumers to decide how many of those farms are organic.
If itís not costing much more then it's just common sense; organically grown products that you eat, put on your skin, or breath are the best and safest choice. Good to eat, touch, smell, good for the environment, good for the small-scale farmers and farm workers who produce it.
Supporting global organic farming may be one of the last ways to keep people, pets, farm animals, global ecosystems and rural communities healthy and alive.
We have repeated in articles throughout our site, "if you are concerned about the foods you put into your body you should be equally concerned about what you smell and what you breathe." We encourage you to read the articles on our site about indoor air quality and smell.
We hope youíll try our certified organic Himalayan bath salt and scrubs; Botani Organics certified organic health supplements; and unscented and essential oil scented palm wax candles free of petrochemicals and pesticides.