Farmworkers at risk from pesticide exposure—organic can help
Published: December 6, 2018
Category: Organic News, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter
We might forget that our food comes to us while endangering the health of millions of laborers who plant and harvest our crops, tend our livestock, and manage farm weeds and pests. The Organic Center’s new report highlights the dangers of exposure to toxic synthetic agricultural chemicals and offers to counter that risk through the benefits of organic farming.
A compilation of 129 studies worldwide documents the impact of substantial use of chemicals used in conventional farming—short- and long-term.
Health risks include cancer, reproductive harm, and neurodegenerative disorders from the 1.1 billion pounds of chemicals applied yearly. Recently $78 million was awarded to a groundskeeper, after a court determined his terminal cancer was linked to long-term exposure to Roundup (glyphosate) herbicide.
The EPA has 1,400 pesticides registered, with 900 active ingredients—most of which are banned in organic farming. Crop rotation, intercropping, buffer, and soil health protocols help control pests in organic practices. When necessary, organic growers can use naturally occurring pest products and about 25 synthetic chemicals approved by the National Organic Standards Board, deemed of little threat.
“Practices used by organic producers to support robust and [balanced] agroecosystems to naturally combat pests can reduce chemical inputs in any farm setting,” said Dr. Jessica Shade of The Organic Center. “By shifting to more sustainable farming systems… we can ensure sustainable food security and healthy farm communities into the future.”
Source: Organic Center
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