The chemical-based conventional agriculture industry claims that the synthesized concoctions they sell as pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides are safe when used as directed, but does the scientific evidence truly support their assertions? Organic agriculturist and lecturer Andre Leu delves into a wealth of respected scientific journals to present the peer-reviewed evidence that proves the claims of chemical companies and pesticide regulators are not all they seem. Leu translates technical jargon into layman s terms to break down the five most-repeated myths about pesticide safety, refuting them using scientific data. The pesticide industry argues that agriculture, and the global population itself, cannot survive without its products, but Leu warns that we are at risk unless we break free of their toxic hold and turn to more natural methods of pest and weed regulation.
Right in the preface to The Myth of Safe Pesticides, we learn the secret formula to stop the madness: pesticides create pests, they don’t control them. Biodiversity is our best friend in dealing with pest problems.
The rest of The Myth of Safe Pesticides is a hailstorm of facts. There is no padding, no narrative, no tangents, no stories of suffering or redemption, no sugarcoating. Rather than a personal rant, Leu lets the scientific studies speak for themselves. And there are hundreds to choose from.
Each chapter dispels a myth about the safety of pesticides, and by extension, the government regulators and corporate community evaluating them:
1. All agricultural poisons are rigorously tested. Actually, of the more than 88,000 chemical compounds unleashed on the world since the end of World War II, only a few hundred have been (incorrectly) tested, only three have ever been banned, and none have been tested in combination with any of the others, inside the human body.
2. Very small amount. The old adage is the dose makes the poison. Actually, the body doesn’t care about massive amounts. It’s the tiniest parts per billion and even trillion that latch on to proteins, hormones and cells, block communications from the brain, disrupt the stability of the network, and create massive imbalances in cell growth (cancers) and the various “new” chronic diseases of the past 25 years. It’s the tiny amounts that kill.
3. Breakdown – modern pesticides rapidly degrade. Actually, residues concentrate the poisons. When toxic poisons break down (biodegrade) they can become oxons, 100 times more toxic than the original pesticide. Glyphosate (Roundup) at residue levels induces human breast cancer cells to multiply 8-13 times. It grows cancer. And we ingest it daily. No choice.
4. Reliable Regulatory Authorities. Actually, they can be counted on for absolutely no protection whatsoever. See my review of Poison Spring by a 25 year veteran of the EPA.
5. Pesticides are essential to farming. Actually, yields are higher and the earth richer and far more stable without them. Such crops also withstand extremes, now a common occurrence, far better than pesticide and chemical fertilizer farming. And they reduce the cost of farming substantially.
Much like the tobacco scandal, the bodies are piling up. The charts of chronic diseases all turn parabolic in the early 90s, as Roundup spread around the world. They continue their straight up increase year over year. Unprovable coincidence? Not according to the studies. The 2010 US President’s Cancer Panel Report clearly lays out that environmental toxins are the main cause of cancers. Yet government not only won’t ban them, it won’t test them, and actually defends the manufacturers against countries that do.
-77% of fresh fruit and vegetables in the USA have residues of pesticide.
-47% of food in the USA has measurable amounts of multiple pesticide residues.
-Systemic poisons are absorbed into all parts of the plant, so washing them removes very little of the poisons.
-Botulism and other food scares are increasing in animals and our food supply because pesticides damage bacteria and enzymes in the gut microbiome that regulate homesostasis – balanced health – of the animals we raise.
-Some rain in Europe contains so much pesticide it could not be distributed for drinking.
Leu concludes there is no credible science to claim that any level of exposure is safe.
And if poisoning their customers and the planet were not enough, debt purchasing of GMO seeds and pesticides has driven 284,000 farmers in India to commit suicide since 1985. This compares to zero suicides by non GMO farmers using native seeds in the same period. Another unprovable coincidence? Leu doesn’t ask, but how many do we need?