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Take A Moment Pesticides on Food

Paul Whybrow

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There was a depressing report in the Guardian this week, about how UK fruit & veg contains a “cocktail of pesticides.”

Cocktail of pesticides in almost all oranges and grapes, UK study finds

I eat 8 portions of fruit and four portions of fresh vegetables daily, so I might have been doing myself more harm than good!

Some of you may remember that Meryl Streep campaigned against pesticides poisoning people by tainting fresh food way back in 1990.

Simply Streep – The Meryl Streep Archives » Mothers and Others for Pesticide Limits

Video: Simply Streep – The Meryl Streep Archives » Mothers and Others PSA (1988)

It beggars belief that this situation is legal, but then, the bottom line of making a profit is always more important than ensuring the population is healthy.

What do you think?

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Robinne Weiss

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My master's degree focused on Integrated Pest Management--an approach that accepts the presence of a certain level of pests, and uses chemical pesticides sparingly as a last resort only when all other methods have failed. So, yeah, I've been aware of this issue for a long time. It's one of the many reasons I grow almost all our food (all organically--I've never felt the need for chemical pesticides). Not only does the overuse of pesticides harm us and the environment, it decreases the effectiveness of the pesticides against the very pests they're meant to control. Pesticide resistance develops extremely quickly in insect populations that are continuously under pressure from them.
 

RG Worsey

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I eat 8 portions of fruit and four portions of fresh vegetables daily, so I might have been doing myself more harm than good!
No, because everything else: tea, sugar, bread etc. contains them as well. Plus the concentrated pesticides in animal flesh, combined with antibiotics, growth hormones etc. A diet high in fruit and veg can never be less healthy than one that isn't.

Fundamentally, what many experts recommend is to identify the worst offenders (e.g. wine and salad leaves) and buy those organic, if, like 99% of people, you can't afford to do a whole weekly shop that's organic.
 

Hannah F

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I'm vegetarian and have various friends who grow various things organically at home as well as me growing what they don't so we can swap and share. When I buy, I buy organic (with the exception of sherry. I buy a certain kind that I like best). Organic is more expensive, but if more people bought it instead of the cheaper pesticide-filled stuff, then more farmers would go organic.
For a while, I bought organic wheatabix which was £1 more expensive, but I might have been the only buyer because the supermarket doesn't stock it anymore.
I also wild forage so have spent September eating blackberries. Now, I'm moving onto apples. A friend's garden has turned into the kingdom of apples.
 

Barbara

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I do wonder how organic 'organic' really is. I read somewhere that even organic produce has pesticides because of the wind.

Back home in Switzers, back in the (what was it?) 80s, we were told not to buy even Swiss grown lettuce for a while because of Chernobyl.

I've grown a few bits (not successfully). Salad, which the cat used as a toilet. Potatoes which were an inch in diameter. Deformed carrots which looked like ... I'm not telling you. Tomatoes that went from green to black, by-passing the red stage. I've also failed at courgette.

I now have Rhubarb that never ripens, and raspberry I can't keep up with harvesting. Does anyone want raspberry?

I wish I was better at gardening.

A few years ago, I was running through my village when a voice in a front garden stopped me. It was a bloke. 'Oi, do you want a cucumber?'

I ran home with 3. They were the best I had in years.

We have a saying in Swiss: the bigger the potato, the more stupid the farmer. It's used for those moments when someone succeeds not because they know their stuff but because they didn't over think the problem and just threw themselves into it.
 

Robinne Weiss

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Yes, the overspray issue is a problem. At our last house, my garden would get nailed at least twice a year by the neighbour's herbicide. Just the volatiles wafting over--not enough to kill anything, just to completely mess up their growth. The grapes were particularly sensitive, and there were years when we didn't get any at all, because the plants were so damaged by overspray. The thing is, our neighbour tried hard not to overspray--he only sprayed on calm days, when overspray was unlikely. But calm days here are rare, and they usually come with temperature inversions that mean air pollutants are trapped at ground level. So those highly volatile chemicals would hang around in the air for hours. The only solution to the overspray problem is not to spray at all. And that won't happen as long as farmers are taking pest control advice from the agrochemical companies.

Ah, but I could rant about pest control for days on end. Indeed, there's a 300-page thesis on the subject with my name on it on my shelf. LOL! But now I need to get back to my important writing about dragons ... :)
 

Emily

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I was down the garden digging up spuds for the dinner (a most enjoyable activity) thinking of this thread.
I was just thinking about how the prevalence of pesticides on food is an oft-debated matter, people forget about the pesticides they are using in their homes in the form of air fresheners, scented candles (both often carcinogenic), anything that goes on your skin, cleaning products and especially your laundry detergent: this stuff is destroying our water systems, being flushed into our groundwater and rivers and seas... When there are so many fantastic alternatives (that work out much more cost efficient also, like ecoballs). We wrap our bodies and sleep between these clothes, breathing in the (often chemically overloaded) fumes and forget that our skin is the largest organ of our body.
I shall end my rant there *angelic emoji if only my emojis would work on my phone*
 

Robinne Weiss

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Good point, @Emily. And what most people don't know that on a per-acre basis, pesticide use is higher in residential homes than agricultural fields. Consumers think, but I'm just spraying a little bit...but because they're not aware of application rates, etc, they're going way over what they need, even by the measures of the pesticide industry.
 

Galadriel

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I was down the garden digging up spuds for the dinner (a most enjoyable activity) thinking of this thread.
I was just thinking about how the prevalence of pesticides on food is an oft-debated matter, people forget about the pesticides they are using in their homes in the form of air fresheners, scented candles (both often carcinogenic), anything that goes on your skin, cleaning products and especially your laundry detergent: this stuff is destroying our water systems, being flushed into our groundwater and rivers and seas... When there are so many fantastic alternatives (that work out much more cost efficient also, like ecoballs). We wrap our bodies and sleep between these clothes, breathing in the (often chemically overloaded) fumes and forget that our skin is the largest organ of our body.
I shall end my rant there *angelic emoji if only my emojis would work on my phone*
I totally agree, @Emily , I was in B&Ms the other week with my daughter and the over-powering fumes of the laundry and kitchen aisle made me feel sick. And yes, in the past, I have used mainstream perfumed cleaners; nose-blind for sure. I've not used this stuff for a long time, and I'm saying to my daughter who is in the multiple products = sparkling home mindset, you have got to rethink a) the money you're spending and b) the chemicals you're swilling your house with.

I use 7 non-toxic ingredients together in various permutations: bicarbonate of soda, vinegar, soda crystals, castile soap, citric acid and essential oils (occasionally vegetable glycerine). that's it. And my latest 'invention' is I literally use toilet soap in the toilet :) I thought, what can I do with those left-over bits of soap? I press them into the toilet brush and scrub away.;)
 

Hannah F

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I saw a documentary once which included a measure of toxins in the air in the houses of one street. Those with trees in the garden contained the least amount of outdoor pollutants in the indoor air. Those with indoor plants also reduced the amount of pollutants in the air. The two houses with the greatest amount of toxins in the indoor air: one where a young couple were very much into lighting many scented candles at night and one where the woman was obsessed with cleaning her kitchen floor and over-spraying with scent whenever the dog came in from the garden. The house with the least amount of toxins was rented by (non-smoking) students. They had plenty of indoor plants and were rather lazy when it came to "thorough" cleaning.
 

Emily

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I use 7 non-toxic ingredients together in various permutations: bicarbonate of soda, vinegar, soda crystals, castile soap, citric acid and essential oils (occasionally vegetable glycerine).
Yes, I use exactly the same! We have the added pressure of our own well for water and septic tank system which relies on the careful balance of bacteria (although, most people are oblivious and put all sorts of chemicals and poisons into their private -and public- system). My dad is a chemist and to say he was/is completely obsessed with his septic tank system is an understatement. The most important rule in our house before we ever had visitors was that there was to be NO DISCUSSIONS ABOUT THE SEPTIC TANK!!!! (He always managed to circumvent this and could turn the most innocuous conversation into one involving excrement and the efficient bacterial breakdown...)
And my latest 'invention' is I literally use toilet soap in the toilet
This is *somewhat genius* my dear! I have lots of bitty bits of soap collected in a bowl (thinking ahead of the apocalypse obvs... :rolleyes: )
 

Galadriel

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I saw a documentary once which included a measure of toxins in the air in the houses of one street. Those with trees in the garden contained the least amount of outdoor pollutants in the indoor air. Those with indoor plants also reduced the amount of pollutants in the air. The two houses with the greatest amount of toxins in the indoor air: one where a young couple were very much into lighting many scented candles at night and one where the woman was obsessed with cleaning her kitchen floor and over-spraying with scent whenever the dog came in from the garden. The house with the least amount of toxins was rented by (non-smoking) students. They had plenty of indoor plants and were rather lazy when it came to "thorough" cleaning.
House plants are very good at detoxing homes. Corn palm and spider plants are very good at dealing with (free radicals?). Birch trees outside are also shown to be one of the top trees for absorbing pollutants from cars.
 

Galadriel

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Yes, I use exactly the same! We have the added pressure of our own well for water and septic tank system which relies on the careful balance of bacteria (although, most people are oblivious and put all sorts of chemicals and poisons into their private -and public- system). My dad is a chemist and to say he was/is completely obsessed with his septic tank system is an understatement. The most important rule in our house before we ever had visitors was that there was to be NO DISCUSSIONS ABOUT THE SEPTIC TANK!!!! (He always managed to circumvent this and could turn the most innocuous conversation into one involving excrement and the efficient bacterial breakdown...)

This is *somewhat genius* my dear! I have lots of bitty bits of soap collected in a bowl (thinking ahead of the apocalypse obvs... :rolleyes: )
Oh that sounds hilarious about your dad! At least it directed him away from talking about embarrassing things you did as a child (such as my dad was wont to do) and the awful childhood school photos on show - in my case, the one of me after my dad had hacked my fringe . :(

The well sounds rather romantic, Emily. Do you have to test your tank daily then? Sounds like you need to be proficient.

As for soap - many moons ago I bought a couple of plastic cup things from a sales catalogue that came through the door (you know the ones that inform you of all the gadgets you never knew existed, but leave you wondering if you do need them), and you popped your bits of soap in them and they all pressed together to make a pretty, new tablet of soap. I wish I had them. But, yep cleaning the loo with Marseille de Savon is a delight:)
I love a beautiful fancy soap. Only drawback is when the granddaughters visit and they want to wash their hands forevvvvverrrrrrrr. Invariably, this leads to mush or they loose it out of their hands to collect gritty bits off the floor (hmm, I'm aware that I don't sound like I mop, do I?:rolleyes:
 
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