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Pesticides Effects

.. ced to thirteen million dollars donated to them in the name of campaign contributions. Who contributed this money? The pesticide industry contributed most of the thirteen million, and they have steadily filled the pockets of our trusted representatives for sometime. But what about Americans, they spend ten percent of their incomes and food for their families, but for what? To be poisoned? The Food and Drug Administration and the USDA share responsibility for checking the levels of toxins in the U.S. foods, but the toxins are still being allowed to exceed the U.S.

definitions of safety for adults, but not for children. The toxins that are included in these guidelines derive from an unlikely source. Not only are the pesticides that we are using harming produce, the fertilizers as well are just as harmful. Farmers think they are helping there are plants, but instead they are really creating toxic foods. Pollution industries send millions of pounds of toxic waste, which include lead, dioxin and arsenic. These are wastes, which would otherwise be subject to rigorous, and hazardous waste disposal laws are sold to fertilizer and pesticide companies under the disguise of “recycling.” These wastes are incorporated into commercial pesticides and fertilizers and then applied to the nation’s farmland.

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The Environmental Working Group discovered that two hundred and seventy-one million pounds of toxic waste were delivered to farms, fertilizer, and pesticide manufacturers between 1990 and 1995. There were sixty-nine toxins in all. The EWG has identified more than six hundred companies in forty-four states that sent toxic waste to farms in thirty-eight states. What is this saying about farmers who purchase these products? Do they really know what they are buying? What is this saying about the fertilizer and pesticide companies? What is this saying about our government for allowing this to continue? Is it fair that ignorance is forced upon parents who allow their babies to consume the fruit and vegetables, which are tainted with deadly poisons? Everyday children are pushed by their parents to eat more produce than anyone else is in the name of healthy eating. When thinking of children, if the levels of toxins in possible sources of food do not account for small children then what about infants? If a large portion of our produce is imported from South America and Mexico, then some of this produce is ending up in baby food products. There is not enough protective legislation for the use of pesticides on produce that go into baby food, and what there is, is becoming more laxed every year.

The Environmental Working Group commissioned a laboratory test of eight baby food products produced by three main manufacturers. These manufacturers are Heinz, Gerber and Beechnut. They found sixteen different pesticides within them. There are three suspected carcinogens, five known carcinogens, eight neurotoxins, and the last five are the most toxic chemicals. It is estimated by some doctors that everyday about one million children under the age of five ingest unsafe levels of pesticide toxins. The American Association of Poison Control centers estimates that there are one million human pesticide poisonings, and about twenty thousand of them result in death every year.

That is a statistic that the House of Representatives would not like their constituents to know. Our heavy use of chemicals and pesticides in the environment is not just harmful towards humans, our wildlife pays a heavy as well. Animal and insect reproductive patterns are being affected, populations are declining and many species are experiencing an extordinary increase in deformities. Frogs for example, are being extremely affected. In the summer of 1995, a group of teenage students took a hike near a pond in Minnesota.

Suprisingly, these frogs were found to have an unusual number of appendages. These frogs had anywhere from two to six legs total. In fact, on of the frogs spotted had three feet on one leg. Minnesota scientists have cited the likely cause as being chemical toxins. Since this incident, deformed frogs have been found at one hundred and seventy-four sites in several northern U.S.

states. Aside from having deformities, the number of frogs in these areas are dwindiling in numbers. The frog population is also decreasing in countries like Australia, India, Europe, Central and South America, and in the majority of the western United States. The Declinig Amphibians Population Task Force was set up by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and has backing from many governments, including the United States. Their scientists are continuilly looking for reasons for the mysterious population decreases.

It has been thought that pesticides used by nearby farms is the leading cause. Scientists have discovered that not only are the appendeges of frogs being affected by pesticides and chemicals, but the hormonal makeup of other wildlife is being affected as well. Many pesticides and other chemicles released into our enviornment funtion as endocrine disrupters, alter the hormonal makeup of wildlife and humans. Problems in the reproductive system have been discovered in harbor seals, snapping turtles, and double crested cormorants. Behavorial abnormalities have been cited in different species of gulls and terns, and immune suppression in beluga whales, common terns and gulls has been documented, according to the National Wildlife Federation. An NWF study reprts that endocrine Disruptors have resulted in animal offspring whose gender distinctions are unclear.

“Alligators, western gulls and rainbow trout have emerged with rudimentary sexual organs, and western and herring gulls have been observed exhibiting mating behaviors of both genders.” Most people, no matter what their view is on pesticide usage, will agree that to maintain a healthy lifestyle, eating properly outweighs the risk of ingesting possible residues. After all, society knows that fruits and vegetables are very important to maintain a balanced diet. So produce must be protected and maybe there are safer ways of doing it. In some countries like China, they encourage the service and population of spiders and other insect-eating creatures within their rice crops. When we spray poisons to kill pests, we are also killing that pest’s natural predators.

The only way individuals can protect themselves and their children is to rinse fruit and vegetables thoroughly under running water. Also peeling fruits helps to remove surface residue. Another way to prevent the intake of pesticides is to throw away the outer leaves of vegetables. Cooking and baking foods also helps to kill residues and bacteria. If society is going to stop the escalation of pesticides, then alternative solutions must be explored and put into effect.

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Available “Pesticide and Food Safety.” California Environmental Protection Agency: Department of Pesticide Regulation July 1997:1-2. Online. Internet. 11 Oct. 1998.

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