Pesticides: Are They As Harmless As The Public Perceives?

by Susan
on 24 February 2017

Did you know that until the 1920’s practically all farming and gardening was organic? According to the Canada Organic Trade Association, only about 2% of the Canadian food and beverage market is considered organic. Over the last 100 years, the use of synthetic pesticides and insecticides have drastically increased across North America. In fact, only in the last decade has that number started to decline. At Delicious Dirt, we believe it is important for us to play a role in informing the public about pesticides and how they can affect our health. One of the most important questions we need to asks ourselves is…

 

“What Are The Effects Of Using Non-Organic Pesticides?”

When you think about what pesticides really are, you can begin to understand how their consumption could cause adverse effects to human health. The first thing you need to understand is that pesticides, in comparison to most chemicals we come in contact with daily, are deliberately added to the environment for the purpose of killing or injuring some form of life. 

This could be a relatively harmless situation if pesticides were designed to be “more selective” toward their undesirable targets. However, instead, they are generally toxic to a vast majority of non-targeting species which run the risk of contact. 

 

Pesticides In History

A great example of the situation above is the initial response to the realization that Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) was a solution to preventing widespread malaria in the 1940’s. In fact, the perceived health benefits were so great that Paul Muller was even awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1948 for his discovery. However, by the mid-1970s most countries had banned DDT due to its bioaccumulation in the environment and its negative health effects on bird reproduction. We believe that as more scientific data on pesticides reveals the negative effects that chemical residues have on human health, the closer we will move toward organic food as a society.

 

Contrary To Popular Belief, Pesticides Can Harm Humans

According to a study by Health Canada, there are several commonly used pesticides across North America that have been associated with cancer development in humans. While some of these harmful pesticides have been banned from use in Canada, such as Diazinon, Trifluralin, and Dicamba, many of these toxic chemicals are still in use.  

These toxic pesticides in use that have been associated with a variety of cancers include Dieldrin (lung cancer), EPTC (all cancers), Metolachlor (lung cancer), Pendimethalin (lung, rectum and pancreatic cancer), Aldicarb (colon cancer), Chlordane (leukemia and rectum cancer), Toxaphene (melanoma rectum cancer), Fonofos (leukemia and prostate cancer),  Methylbromide (prostate cancer), and Permethrin (multiple myeloma). 

The most interesting part of the study by Health Canada is that the 19 pesticides with an association to the development of cancer in humans were not found to have similarities in type (Insecticide, herbicide, or fungicide), chemical structure, or chemical family. Also, only seven of these pesticides have been banned from use in the United States and Canada. 

 

They Effect The Environment Too

These pesticides also pose a threat to animals in the environment. In fact, in Montague on Prince Edward Island, there have been up to 9 incidences per year of fish being killed in large numbers due to pesticide runoff from nearby farms during heavy rain. Not to mention, several occurrences of pesticides knowingly being disposed of. While it may be an isolated incident, it has had major impacts on the local ecosystem as literally every fish, snake, and snail was killed. The truth is, incidences like this are happening all over the world and affecting animals even in the most isolated areas of the globe. Evidence of pesticides has been found on frogs in forests nearly a 100 miles from the closest pesticide utilizing farm. Even creatures in the depths of our oceans are starting to show signs of chemical contamination being linked back to agricultural chemicals. 

For thousands of years, we relied solely on organic farming, which is where we find hope for the future. The first step to making a global change is through education by informing the public that there is a better option. At Delicious Dirt, we believe that anyone can grow an organic garden, even beginners. In fact, we've even given our customers a guide to creating a DIY Organic Garden Bug Repellant. For more information about pesticides or where to find Pefferlaw Peat and Delicious Dirt products, please feel free to contact us today!

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