Rudy Arredondo, founder and president of the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association, knows firsthand the “blow” of toxic chemicals.
At age twelve, he worked to direct crop-dusting planes onto fields, and felt the impact of the toxic spray. At times with no protection, farmworkers have unwittingly exposed themselves to chemicals, resulting in chronic, life-threatening illnesses—in the service of feeding American families.
Arredondo sees organic farming as the solution to safe, healthy food—citing a new peer-reviewed study published in Environmental Research. The study suggests that promoting organic food could be a promising strategy against cancer. After one week of consuming organic foods and drinks, levels of pesticides dropped an average of 60.5 percent (range of 37 to 95 percent). Chlorpyrifos levels—a chemical linked to increased autism, learning disabilities, and reduced IQ in children—fell 61 percent in one week. Children of farmworkers and residents living near farms have the highest risk.
“There’s nothing ‘elitist’ about healthy, toxic-free food,” Arredondo said. “Everyone has the right to [it]. In fact, low-income farmworkers are helping to lead the fight for organic agriculture because they know how dangerous our current industrial system is.”
He says we must—and can—choose organic food to protect all citizens, especially American farmers and farmworkers. Policies to support organic growing and marketing, and to ban dangerous pesticides, are critical—as are the buying choices consumers have.
Source: Sacramento Bee
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