The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

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The Cost of Conventional Food to Society

Dr. Stan Gardener shares his perspective on the cost society pays for conventional food in his article Pay the Farmer or Pay Pharma.  This was published in the Meridian Magazine by the LDS Church.  It is refreshing to see them take this on. If all the churches followed suit, we might see significant changes to our agricultural policy sooner rather than later.

What is the Cost to Society for Conventional Food?

Although there is much more to spraying food than just pesticides, let’s examine the costs of pesticide use.

The Textbook of Environmental Toxicology by J. Rose, printed in 2005, identified the following costs in the US from pesticide-related illness:

  • $6,759,000 Hospitalized poisonings (2380 x 2.84 x $1000/day)
  • $17,010,000 Outpatient poisonings (27,000 x $630)
  • $1,760,000 Lost work due to poisoning (4680 x 4.7 x $80/day)
  • $48,400,000 Cancer treatment (12,000 x $70,700/case)
  • $59,400,000 Cost of fatalities (27 x $2.2 M) Continue reading

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America Exporting Poisons to Rest of World

Thanks for the pesticides, America!

Reposted from

After eating a school lunch that was made with cooking oil tainted with the toxic pesticide monocrotophos, 23 Indian children were recently killed. While the media has highlighted the widespread use of highly hazardous chemicals in India and subsequent health effects, what’s largely unreported is the role that the United States has played — and continues to play — in the tragic but preventable deaths from monocrotophos around the world.

Monocrotophos is an organophosphorus insecticide developed by Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis) and first registered for use in the United States in 1965. Shortly thereafter, it was discovered to be extremely toxic, and was linked to massive bee die-offs, thousands of bird deaths and extreme risks to human health and the environment. This ultimately led the Environmental Protection Agency to restrict and eventually ban its use in 1989. Continue reading

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Benefits of an organic food diet from an organic farming advocate’s perspective

Posted by: Khareem Cabey in Business

Organic farming advocate, Philippe van den Bossche,responds to an article discussing the benefits of eating organic.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, sales of organic food have been rising steadily over the past 10 years, “reaching almost $30 billion in 2011, or 4.2% of all U.S. food and beverage sales, as reported by the Organic Trade Association. Most who purchase organic products believe paying more for organic foods is worth it because it allows them to avoid exposure to chemical pesticides, fertilizers and hormones. However, there are families who are unsure if organic food is worth the extra cost.

Chensheng Lu, an associate professor of environmental exposure biology at the Harvard School of Public Health, argues for eating more organic food. He says that there is some convincing scientific evidence that suggests an organic diet has its benefits and that it should be common sense that consuming food free of pesticides and chemicals “is safer and better for us than food containing those substances, even at trace levels.” In a 2006 study published in the journal of Environmental Health Perspectives, pesticides disappeared from children’s urine after five days of substituting mostly organic produce for conventional produce. Continue reading

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Pesticides Linked to Development of Parkinsons

Amy Boulanger reports on the link between Parkinsons and pesticides in a recent article in Medical Daily:

Choosing an organic-based diet might be a healthier option for helping prevent the onset of PD, or helping those already diagnosed with the disorder.
Numerous studies demonstrate the health risks of exposure to pesticides, which are used to grow conventional crops. In 2009, researchers at UCLA found that Central Valley, Calif. residents who lived within 500 meters of fields sprayed between 1974 and 1999 had a 75 percent increased risk for developing Parkinson’s disease.
They noted in their paper, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, that “Parkinson’s disease has been reported to occur at high rates among farmers and in rural populations, contributing to the hypothesis that agricultural pesticides might be causal agents.”
And yet another recent study, published in the journal Neurology, strongly indicates the risk factor for Parkinson’s disease and exposure to pesticides. Researchers found approximately twice an increase in risk of Parkinson’s associated with exposure to paraquat (a weed killer) or maneb/mancozeb (a fungicide used on crops).
Based on mounting evidence that links pesticides to the development of Parkinson’s, there are steps you can take.
Buy organic whenever you can. The term organic does not guarantee pesticide-free foods; “organic” labeling means that synthetic chemical pesticides have not been used to grow or store the food. For more in-depth information, you can visit the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website to read its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.
According to EWG, “consumers can markedly reduce their intake of pesticide residues and their exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria by choosing organic produce and meat.”
You can also try to shop locally – at your local farmer’s market, for instance – to gain a better understanding of where your food comes from. You can ask how weeds and pests are managed during the growth of crops.
And, in your home, eliminate or reduce your use of pesticides. Look for alternatives to toxins, like cleaning up dining areas immediately after eating to keep out mice and insects. Learn more about safe chemicals by visiting Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.

The entire article is here.