You must first be aware that pesticides (fungicides, herbicides, insecticides) are poisons designed to kill living organisms (fungi, plants, insects) that interfere with crops!
At first glance, it is natural to believe that substances whose primary function is to suppress insects, plants or fungi can be potentially dangerous for the health of humans who consume them, even in tiny doses. Sometimes I give presentations to children and ask them if they think it's a good idea to spray poisons on the food. I have never been told in the affirmative. It will always amaze me that one might think otherwise, even more so that one can broadcast these falsehoods on public television. Is it not the primary function of the state to protect its citizens?
The problems with pesticides are multiple: at the base, their registration lacks rigor, the evaluation of their harmlessness as well as the determined acceptable thresholds are uncertain and finally, the analyzes carried out to verify the presence of pesticides in food have gaps.
Many experts agree that it is extremely difficult to establish safe thresholds for pesticide residues.
Even though a good portion of the pesticides we ingest are excreted by the body, some accumulate there, mainly in fatty tissue and this is where the shoe pinches.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes that 112 types of pesticides registered in the United States have been identified as or may be carcinogenic. The presence of pesticides in the environment has been linked to an increased risk of cancer of the brain, breast, stomach, prostate and testes, as well as childhood leukemia.
The EPA estimates that pesticides applied to food cause up to 60,000 cases of cancer per year in the United States alone.
What about organic?
In organic farming, controlling pests is quite different. Initially, it is always the preventive measures which are privileged. When these do not provide the desired results, the mildest control methods that are least harmful to the environment and the food produced are used first.
Thus to control weeds, we promote the mineral balance of the soil, we practice crop rotation, we intervene by hoeing and weeding, manual or mechanical and by the application of mulch. To curb fungal diseases, we promote air circulation, we treat with liquid manure or horsetail decoctions, we spray solutions of baking soda, milk or sulfur.
Finally, to neutralize pests, in addition to rotation and companioning techniques, plant-based repellents are applied and treated with non-persistent biopesticides such as insecticidal soap, Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterial insecticide, or pyrethrum, a plant insecticide.
Olivier Bernard, in his vindictiveness to denigrate organic farming reported, in his broadcast of December 9, the links established between Parkinson's disease and rotenone, a plant insecticide used in organic farming until the dissemination of the results of the American study showing the link between the insecticide and the disease. However, although rotenone multiplies by 2.5 the risks for its user of contracting the disease, it is not harmful to the consumer, because the insecticide shows a very low persistence. It was this characteristic that placed it in products that could be used organically, until the American study established its link with Parkinson's. Consequently, rotenone was completely banned in Europe from 2012 and its use has become restricted in Quebec, confirmed to me by Pierre Sallafranque, consultant in organic certification.
I would like to conclude by stating that we are free to choose our path: one path that leads to life or one that leads to death. My choice has been made for a long time. And if Hippocrates said that our food should be our medicine, we can also claim that it can dig our grave.
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