The War on Bugs is a War on Us

Will Allen has a new book out called The War on Bugs, in which he explores the development of chemical farming in the US.  Today I just want to share some quotes from an interview he recently gave about the book.

“The most heavily used chemicals today are the most toxic chemicals we have ever used in agriculture, and we’re using them at much higher rates than ever before.  To show that we mined the California data on pesticide use reports to reveal what was on your food in 2005, the most recent year for data before the book went to print.  For example, California strawberry farmers applied 335 pounds of pesticides per acre and you cannot wash that stuff off.   Those are systemic pesticides; they stay in the food.  You can wash it right down to the seed and you can’t get the pesticides out.

We know that these chemicals are making people sick.  If you look at the studies that are coming out, such as the one in which scientists say that if you’ve been exposed to pesticides 250 days in your life, you have a 60 percent  higher chance of contracting Parkinson’s disease than people who haven’t had that exposure; or the one that found kids fed chemically produced fruits and vegetables had organophosphates, a known nerve poison, in their urine and saliva, but as soon as they were fed organic food, those organophosphates went away.  So by simply eating food off supermarket shelves, you’re going to get nerve poison in your system.  That’s crazy.

All the stuff we hear about cheap food is baloney.  The chemical food you buy at the supermarket looks cheaper than organic, but then you have to realize that you pay another bill on that food when you pay your taxes and that second bill goes to the farm subsidies.  That second installment is about the same as the first installment, so if you compare the real price of our highly processed and chemically grown food, it’s double the shelf price; organic food is rarely double the price of chemical food.  Plus there are other hidden costs:  We taxpayers end up paying to clean up the water and the air from those chemicals and chemical spills, and the consumer also pays more in healthcare costs for those eating chemically treated food.”

So I guess you might say that the War on Bugs is really a War on Us.

Grace and Peace.