Are pesticides and disease related? Does a smoking gun prove a bullet was fired?

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Pesticides, Preservatives and the Power of ChoiceOur society is struggling with overwhelming health issues. Our children are suffering just as much as the aged. And despite the money and research devoted to prevention, treatment, pharmaceuticals, and education, disease rates are increasing.

We all know something is wrong. Something is making us sick. Consider the statistics.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 150 children has been diagnosed as autisticby the age of eight, which is a tenfold increase over the last 20 years. Autoimmune diseases such as Chrohn’s and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Graves, Celiac, psoriasis, eczema, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis (MS) affect eight percent of the population and have increased significantly in the last few decades.A whopping one in 10 kids has ADHD, and four percent have food allergies severe enough to require medical attention, which is an 18 percent increase in just 10 years. One in 10 children has asthma.

And that’s just the A-list.

Obesity is not only a disease in and of itself, but a precursor to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and some cancers. Ten percent of preschoolers, 19.6 percent of kids ages 6 to 11, and 18.1 percent of adolescents in America are classified as obese.

Most of us suspect that our environment plays a significant role in these trends. And all good people idealistically support pollution prevention, rehabilitation of polluted water and soils, stricter air quality standards, and responsible recycling. But, most of us don’t understand that every time we eat, we are making a choice and casting a vote about where we stand on environmental contaminants.

When was the last time you ate something that came out of a box or a bag? If you even suspect that pesticides and disease are related, and every dollar you spend is a vote, just what are you voting for?

  • Synthetic additives are found in all processed foods that are not organic. Snack foods, cereal, jams, jellies, yogurts, processed/flavored cheeses, creams and dairy, salad dressings, sport and soft drinks, glazes, icing, crackers, cookies and cakes and all things found in plastic.
  • Chemical flavorings add the sweet and/or salty satiety with aspartamine, splenda, xylitol, MSG, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), acesulfamine and many more. Natural AND artificial flavors are made in a lab.
  • Artifical colors are made from petroleum or coal tar. They color your tongue, tempt your kids and melt in your mouth, not in your hand. Examples are Red 40, Blue 2, Yellow 6 and caramel.
  • Preservatives are antioxidants used to prevent rancidity, brown and black spots and microbials that prevent mold, yeast and bacteria. Examples are BHA, BHT, ammonium bicarbonate and sodium nitrate.

In general, some of these additives are synthesized from industrial solvents like benzoate or byproducts of ammonium fertilizers. Some have been tested on rats with results pointing to various forms of cancers, neurological problems, and hypersensitivity reactions, only to have the studies declared insufficient, inconclusive, or irrelevant.

More importantly, none of the studies looked for synergistic effects created by the mixture of all this crap, as it is inevitable in our factory-processed, brand-named foods.Consider: Bright red juice, low-fat pretzels, and oddly-orange Go-gurts are not health food.The bottom line is that you do have a choice. And you don’t have to become an extremist. You can start with one easy step: Look for the USDA organic label.

The term “organic” gets a lot of confusing press. The bottom line is that it is more expensive, there is less of it, and it can be hard to find. That’s because conventional farming is big business. Mass producing crops in a profitable way that satisfies shareholders of large agricultural and food processing corporations requires insane amounts of fertilizers, pesticides, and genetically modified (GMO) seeds before they even add the synthetic ingredients to attract your appetite.

Organic by definition means that the USDA has certified farming and processing by high standards:

  • No synthetic fertilizers or pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides)
  • No hormones or antibiotics in livestock or dairy production
  • No genetically modified crops or livestock
  • No artificial ingredients, preservatives, or colors

Fertilizers and pesticides pollute the waterways and our drinking supply, harm wildlife and ecosystems, add to soil erosion, and are detrimental to the vitality and productivity of the soil. And as they are everywhere, you can guarantee that they are in your family’s food.

study published by the National Institute of Environmental Sciences in 2006 found a significant decrease (“dropped to zero”) of malathion and chloropyrifos (pesticides) in the urine samples of school-aged kids after just one week on an organic diet. According to the National Cancer Institute and the EPA’s Agricultural Health Studies, it has been proven that chronic low-level exposure to pesticides in children contributes to neurological and developmental maladies, asthma, and cancers.

According to the USDA, 81-86 percent of all corn and 87-90 percent of all soybeans planted in the US are GMO. The Grocery Manufactures Association estimates that 75 percent of all processed food in the US contains GM ingredients (because most contain some version of corn, which is used to make everything!) So unless you are eating organic, you are getting GMOs.

And you SHOULD care! Genetically Modified Organisms have DNA that has been altered so that the best traits are expressed for maximum visual appeal and production yield. Bacterial, fungal, plant, animal and even viral genes are cut and pasted to create a plant with a super immune system that can survive all the pesticides and fertilizers used to make them grow faster, stronger and better than the competition. The more of these products our little people consume, the more their immune system is being stimulated, confused and compromised.

In seemingly unrelated news, autoimmune disorders, allergies, asthma, autism and ADHD are on the rise.

Can anyone deny that pesticides and disease are related?

Our food comes from our environment, and our environment directly affects our lives. Smog, ozone depletion, heavy mineral contamination, and water pollution are all incredibly complex and difficult issues that must be handled in our communities, through our governments, and with global initiatives.

But the most immediate and direct influence our environment has on us is through the food we eat. We may not be able to change the world all at once, but we are in charge of our next meal. That’s really good news.

That’s really good news.

Are pesticides and disease related? Of course they are.

I encourage you to look at Chemical Cuisine to learn more about specific food additives and Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risk .

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