Dangers of Pesticides
Even if you "don't" garden, here near our chiropractic in Lafayette I bet you know someone who does. The climate here is perfect for year-round varietals! It's also perfect for insects - so either you or your friend who gardens uses "pesticides." That said - have you ever heard of the popular herbicide, "Round-up"? Round-up is an extremely popular pesticide manufactured by "Monsanto, " and is primarily comprised of a compound called "Glyphosphate." What is glyphosphate? A KNOWN CARCINOGEN.
Because of Round-up's popularity, an estimated one billion pounds a year is sprayed on our food crops, resulting in the average American eating several hundred pounds of glyphosate-contaminated food every year. How does this affect You and the health of your family? Dr. Anthony Samsel, Phd, explains…
"I worked for many years working as a research scientist on many types of projects, from product development to environmental sciences to later switching to health sciences," he says. Besides Dr. Samuel's career in science, he also owned and operated several farms in New England, and it was this first-hand experience that led him to begin investigating the effects of glyphosate in the first place.
I started using glyphosate myself commercially around the farm and my properties back in the late '70s or early '80s, when it first came on the market," he says. "I believed the hype like all the other farmers and people around the world do, that glyphosate is as safe as salt and that it broke down into harmless chemicals that did no harm. I believed all that stuff until I started studying the chemical."
Being a research scientist, a chemist, I knew what to look for. Having worked as a scientist, I was familiar with how chemicals had effects on the human body and on animals. So I started approaching it from that aspect. As far as my own health, it started to suffer. That's what put me on the road to take a look at this chemical because I was using it."
The summer season always brings delicious fruits and vegetables, but if you are not shopping at local farmers markets or not purchasing USDA certified organic, you need to be aware of the chemicals that mass retailers use to literally give their fruits and vegetables "shelf-life."
Don't want to eat fruits coated with toxins? Neither do we! And neither does the Environmental Working Group, or, EWG, which thankfully tracks what's actually in and on our food.
Every year the EWG distributes the "Annual Shopper's Guide to Pesticides," which breaks down which fruits and veggies have the most pesticides and which have the fewest. Their goal is to bring some transparency to our food supply and help you decide when it's worth shilling out extra for organic produce. Apples topped the toxic list for the fourth year in a row, which may not come as a surprise in the wake of news that they're often covered with "Round-up" a chemical that's banned in most other countries, such as Europe.
If it fits in your budget, buy organic whenever possible. And if it's just not affordable right now, the EWG's guide can help you make more informed, healthy choices.
The fruits and veggies with the most pesticides, known as the "Dirty Dozen" are:
- Sweet bell peppers
- Nectarines (imported)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Snap peas (imported)
- Hot peppers
- Kale/collard greens
And the fruits and veggies with the least pesticides (the "Clean Fifteen") are:
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas (frozen)
- Sweet potatoes
The Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 marked dramatic progress in the federal government's efforts to protect Americans from dangerous pesticides. The landmark legislation required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess pesticides in light of their particular dangers to children and to ensure that pesticides posed a "reasonable certainty of no harm" to children or any other high-risk group. This law is credited with reducing the risks posed by pesticide residues on food. It forced American agribusiness to shift away from some of the riskiest pesticides. But worrisome chemicals are not completely out of the food supply. Residues of many hazardous pesticides are still detected on a handful of foods.
Some 65 percent of thousands of produce samples analyzed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture test positive for pesticide residues. That's bad news for the growing number of Americans who want to minimize their consumption of pesticides. Parents' concerns have been validated by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which in 2012 issued an important report that said that children have "unique susceptibilities to [pesticide residues'] potential toxicity." The pediatricians' organization cited research that linked pesticide exposures in early life and "pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems." It advised its members to urge parents to consult "reliable resources that provide information on the relative pesticide content of various fruits and vegetables." One key resource, it said, was EWG's Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce. With EWG's Shopper's Guide, consumers can have the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables with less exposure to pesticides.
For this week's recipe - in lieu of SUMMER - how about a salad?
Squash & Brussels Sprout Pasta Salad with Brown Sugar Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1/2 pound Gluten Free rotini pasta
- 1 1/2 cups brussels sprouts, quartered
- 3 tablespoons organic olive oil, divided
- 1/2 large acorn squash, sliced (or yellow squash)
- 2 cups spinach, slightly torn
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup roasted, chopped pecans (or almonds, or walnuts)
1. Preheat oven to 400F, and start a pot of water boiling on the stove top.
2. Coat Brussels sprouts and squash slices with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 16 minutes, until the squash is fork tender and the Brussels sprouts are browning.
3. When the water boils, add pasta and cook for about 8-10 minutes, until cooked through.
4. Meanwhile, whisk together brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, remaining tablespoon of oil and mustard for dressing.
5. With a skillet on medium heat, toss chopped nuts around for a few minutes (do not take your eyes off of them because they burn quickly! A light roast should take no more than 3-5 minutes).
6. When everything is done cooking, chop the sliced squash into bite-sized pieces. Toss everything together in one bowl and sprinkle the chopped, roasted nuts on top.
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