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Pesticide contamination

MagazineDecember 2010 (Vol. 21 Issue 9)Pesticide contamination

The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines a pesticide as any agent or mix of agents used to prevent, des-troy or control any pest

The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines a pesticide as any agent or mix of agents used to prevent, des-troy or control any pest. Such pests include disease vectors, and unwanted plants and animals causing harm or interfering with the production, processing, storage, transportation or marketing of food, agricultural commodities or animal foodstuffs.

Pesticides include chemicals used to control insects, arachnids or other pests, as well as agents used to regulate plant growth, to thin fruit or prevent their premature fall, and to protect against deterioration of crops during storage and transport. The term also refers to desiccants (used to induce or maintain dryness) and defoliants (FAO. International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides, 2002).

Most pesticides are neurotoxins and far more hazardous to human health than governments are willing to acknowledge because, if they did, then people would demand to know why they had allowed the public to be exposed to such slow poisoning for more than half a century.

These toxins are especially hazardous to pregnant and nursing mothers, fetuses and infants. They interfere with sexual development, disturb normal neural and thyroid function, and evoke other endocrine disruption. They also contribute to obesity, cancer risk and may even contribute to mental retardation.

Key organic foods

As farmers use pesticides in the same way everywhere, contamination is uniform from one country to another. The top 15 foods in the list below should only be eaten as organic produce, whereas it's not as important for those at the bottom of the list-except for maize/corn. Until the advent of genetically modified maize/corn, it was among the most heavily sprayed crops. Now, the toxic pesticides don't show up as residues on the surface of maize/corn because such agents have been genetically built into the cells of the food itself-so be sure to only eat organic maize/corn.

I suggest that the lower part of this page be cut out and stuck somewhere accessible, such as on the fridge door, and ask that any readers contact me if they need any further help.

Harald Gaier


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