Pesticides and allergies
Once upon a time, we got some negative feedback from someone who did not believe there was a link between allergies and pesticides in food.
I just blocked out names out of respect to those involved.
In the end, we just told everyone that all we could do was hold up all the good that permaculture had done for us in our own lives in hopes that it might help others.
Permaculture allows us to:
- feed ourselves the most delicious, nutrient-dense foods
- teach ourselves and our children how food grows in rhythms and cycles
- commune with nature and with God
- heal the planet
But just in case, you may be faced with a similar situation or may want to know if there really is science behind what we're talking about...
Here are some scientific studies which show that there really is a link between pesticides in food and food allergies:
- Link between the chemicals called dichlorophenols (DCPs) and the presence of a food allergy
- First US study showing pesticide induced anaphylactic allergy
- Link of Organophosphates in inducing food (plant) allergies
Some allergies are of course, caused by genetics.
Either they are inherited or they arise as a combination of genetic mutations and environmental factors.
Pesticides and cancer
What I noticed though is that most of the pesticide research is actually linked to cancer.
According to ecologist and cancer advocate, Dr. Sandra Steingraber there are 66 possibly carcinogens in the food that we eat.
Here are some studies linking pesticide use with the development of cancer:
- Pesticides and pancreatic cancer
- Pesticides in childhood leading to cancer
- Summary of several studies on pesticides and cancer
The Pesticide Action Network says,
"In the U.S., one of every two men and one of every three women are likely to develop cancer over the course of a lifetime — and pesticides in food are part of the reason why."
It was at this time that we also started watching documentaries like Food Inc.,
This movie, among many others that followed, strengthened our suspicions that there was a link between pesticides in food and the rise of children's allergies (and other health issues as well).
Now we were starting to believe actually that the conventional commercial American food system was flawed.
Pesticides & the Environment
But not only do pesticides harm humans. They affect several different ecosystems!
- They kill off beneficial pollinator insects such as bees.
- They annihilate micro & macro-organisms, bacteria, fungi and archaea in soil t
- When pesticides enter the water table and leach out into the waterways, they contaminate aquatic creatures as well and have turned male frogs (& fish) into females!
It was because of these connections that we decided to buy organic as much as we could.
Of course this change in buying habit did not occur overnight.
At first, we decided to buy only organic milk.
And then cheese and then, becoming aware of the Dirty Dozen, we went for organic veggies.
Little by little,
year after year,
everything that we could buy organic,
And as you can imagine, our grocery bill went through the roof!
But was that enough?
Was that all we needed to do? Buy organic.
Not everything in our grocery stores is organic.
Would buying organic alone solve our problem?
Would that one act get rid of our kids' allergies?
And let's say for one magical moment that all the pesticides and herbicides currently being used in the market were deemed safe for consumption and that this was true.
I would like to know whether or not these same fruits and veggies actually solved the problem of human hunger.
Did these conventionally-grown foods actually nourish us?
I'll answer at least one of the questions on the next page.