Farmer Al’s Friday ramblings on: Research into the harmful effects of pesticides for human health

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They say that things come in three’s and this week there have been three separate reports in the world press all linked in different ways with the negative affects pesticides and herbicides can have on our health, not to mention the environment. The first one I read in the Guardian was a research report carried out in France, which showed that children in agricultural areas are exposed to a cocktail of pesticides. François Veillerette, spokesperson for Générations Futures said that; “The presence of more than 21 pesticides, on average, that are endocrine disruptors in the hair that was analysed shows that our children are exposed to a significant cocktail of these substances”. The second report I read was in The Ecologist and was an American research project showing that Glyphosate, the worlds top selling herbicide was found in the breast milk of 3 out of ten Mums. The third report an Australian trial carried out by Dr Liz Oates of Royal Monash Institute of Technology found that one week of eating mostly organic food reduced organophosphate pesticide levels in urine by 89 per cent. ZckxeepHC“Conventional food production commonly uses organophosphate pesticides, which are neurotoxins that act on the nervous system of insects – and humans – by blocking an important enzyme. Recent studies have raised concerns for the health effects of these chemicals even at relatively low levels. Pesticide exposure in Australian adults is mainly through their diets, but there are other sources of exposure, so we wanted to find out the difference going organic could make”. Dr Oates sai I’m certainly not trying to be a doom-monger by highlighting these different pieces of research to you but for me it really is just common sense that chemicals don’t belong in agriculture andthe more they are present the more consequences there are for human and planetary health. History has already shown us this with DDT asdocumented in Rachel Carson’s famous book 'Silent Spring' over 50 years ago. The encouraging thing is that the RMIT report shows that people who switch to eating mainly organic food for just one week can dramatically reduce their exposure to pesticides, demonstrating that an organic diet has a key role to play in a precautionary approach to reducing pesticide exposure. Stay healthy and have a great week! 1601305-mCheers, Alasdair  

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