Organic Local Farming


Eat Organic - Foodnews.org

  • Reducing Exposure is Smart

    The more that scientists learn about the toxicity of pesticides, the more questions are raised about the potential toxic effects on people. Pesticide manufacturers often portray these unresolved scientific issues, and the uncertainty that comes with them, as safety.

    Statements like, "There is no conclusive evidence of harm to humans" from exposure to pesticide X are intended to mislead the public into believing that exposures to pesticides and toxic chemicals are without appreciable risks. This is not true. Absence of knowledge is not proof of safety.

  • The endocrine (hormone) system is perhaps even more sensitive to toxic exposure than the nervous system, and over the past decade, enormous effort has been put into the study of how pesticides and toxic chemicals interfere with normal endocrine signaling and function. A significant body of research in animals now shows that ultra-low doses of pesticides and toxic chemicals on critical days of development can cause changes in hormone function and effects on organ development and function that often only appear later in life. A growing number of these studies show that low doses at a susceptible moment of development can cause more of an effect than high doses (vom Saal 1997, Alworth 2002, Hayes 2003). This is particularly relevant to childhood and fetal exposures via food and water where the timing of the exposure is at least as important as the dose.

    Many pesticides are now considered "endocrine disrupters", in part because the term is something of a catch phrase for chemicals that cause a variety of changes in normal hormone signaling. Some better known examples of highly toxic endocrine disrupting pesticides are DDT (and its metabolite DDE) which are now known to exhibit much of their toxicity through anti-androgenic (de-masculinizing) properties (ATSDR 2002), vinclozolin, a heavily used fungicide that is also anti-androgenic (EPA 2000), endosulfan, a DDT relative with estrogenic properties that is found more often in food than any other pesticide (EPA 2002, USDA 1994-2004), and atrazine, a weed killer with broad hormonal activity, that contaminates the drinking water of about 20 million people in the United States (EWG 1999, EWG 1995).

    Today scientists know much more about how pesticides can change critical hormone signals in the human body in ways that can have potential life changing effects. Yet in spite of these advances, there is little agreement on how much endocrine disruption is too much, and how much is without harm. The same is true of immune system effects and to a lesser degree effects on the developing nervous system.

  • What's the Difference?

    An EWG simulation of thousands of consumers eating high and low pesticide diets shows that people can lower their pesticide exposure by almost 90 percent by avoiding the top twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated instead. Eating the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables will expose a person to about 15 pesticides per day, on average. Eating the 12 least contaminated will expose a person to less than 2 pesticides per day. Less dramatic comparisons will produce less dramatic reductions, but without doubt using the Guide provides people with a way to make choices that lower pesticide exposure in the diet.


Wittenberg University Green Guide

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Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association

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American Pasturized Poultry Association

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