How Much Poison Should We Feed Our Children Today?

Written by Max Goldberg on July 19, 2012. Follow Max on Twitter: @livingmaxwell.

Based on some things that I have been writing about lately and reading in the news, it got me thinking.

There is complete acceptance, tolerance, and even encouragement in our country for people to eat conventionally-grown food, which has been sprayed with synthetic pesticides.

And make no mistake about it. Food sprayed with these pesticides is food sprayed with poison. Period.

If you drank enough of it, you would die.

Here are some troubling examples that should alarm people.

GOVERNMENT

- President Obama and the USDA are very close to approving genetically-engineered corn that is resistant to 2,4-D.

For those who don’t know, 2,4-D was an active ingredient in Agent Orange, the herbicide warfare program used in Vietnam that killed 400,000 people and caused birth defects in another 500,000.

If approved, an incredible amount of 2,4-D will be sprayed on this genetically-engineered corn, which will end up in our food and water supply. It will also contaminate nearby crops.

- The Grocery Manufacturers Association has estimated that approximately 75-80% of the food on supermarket shelves contains genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). Nearly all GMOs are sprayed with dangerous chemicals, and the government massively subsidizes the GM-industry.

- In the aggregate, EPA-registered pesticides contain nearly 900 active ingredients, many of which are toxic. Many of the inert ingredients in pesticides also are toxic, but are not required to be tested for causing chronic diseases such as cancer. (From the President’s Cancer Panel)

According to the the EPA, approximately 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year.

SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS

When the Environmental Working Group (EWG) put out its Dirty Dozen, the list of the most pesticide-sprayed fruits and vegetables, a group called the Alliance for Food & Farming demanded that the EWG stop publishing this list.

The Alliance for Food & Farming, which is funded by the Produce Marketing Association, has a whole website dedicated to coaxing people into thinking that pesticides are safe to consume.

CANCER INSTITUTIONS

In the last few days, I went after the world-renowned Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for claiming that “there is no scientific evidence that organic food provides health benefits.”

Outraged that a leading cancer hospital could say something like this, I called Dana-Farber’s statement “factually incorrect and morally reprehensible.”

Under pressure, Dana-Farber retracted this statement but went on to say that “it’s better to eat conventional fruits and vegetables than none at all.”

How do we know that it is better to eat conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables (which have been sprayed with dangerous pesticides) than none at all?

More importantly, why doesn’t this major cancer institution make a statement that is consistent with what the President’s Cancer Panel is saying?

In its report, the President’s Cancer Panel (PDF File) recommended that people avoid eating food that is grown with pesticides.

—–

Demand for organic food continues to boom because people are increasingly coming to realize that what they feed their families must be free of harmful chemicals.

And you don’t need to have a medical degree to understand that dangerous pesticides, in any amount, should be kept out of a person’s body, particularly for children.

The President’s Cancer Panel agrees.

It is “particularly concerned that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated. With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread” and says that “children are far more vulnerable to environmental toxins and radiation than adults.”

As you sit down to dinner tonight, ask yourself what is the acceptable amount of poison you’d be willing to put on the plates of your children.

For me, the answer is none.

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22 Comments

  1. One of the best and most clearly written articles I’ve read on this crucial topic…thank you.

    Written by Mary on July 19, 2012 @ 10:11 pm
  2. Hi Mary,

    Thanks so much for your kind words. We have to let everyone know the truth about what is truly going on in the world.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on July 19, 2012 @ 10:17 pm
  3. Well said. Thanks for this post.

    Written by Michelle on July 19, 2012 @ 11:19 pm
  4. I lived this nightmare with my youngest child. I fired his MD, hired a chiropractor and changed his diet! Before my child was on 6 meds and now he is on none! I know you are right! Great article!

    Written by Julie Jeffries on July 19, 2012 @ 11:24 pm
  5. Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for reading it and for leaving a comment.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on July 20, 2012 @ 7:49 am
  6. Hi Julie,

    Your child was on 6 meds!!!!!! WOW!!!

    Yes, this just proves (again) that we must take serious responsibility for our health. The “system” has a different idea about what health really means.

    Thanks for your words.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on July 20, 2012 @ 7:51 am
  7. I would like to ask for recommendations on how I feed my family more organic foods without breaking the bank. We are on a tight budget as it is and when I try to incorporate more organic I get less food. I would appreciate any suggestions you can offer. Thank you for this article it was extremely enlightening.

    Written by renee on July 20, 2012 @ 9:26 am
  8. Hi Renee,

    Please sign up for my newsletter. When you do, you’ll receive my top 5 inexpensive ways to shop organic. That’s my best suggestion.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on July 20, 2012 @ 9:54 am
  9. Thanks, Max, for your important voice – as always. I wish it were so obvious to everyone. We are grateful to be able to feed our four kids organic foods here at home, but it’s always a challenge when out and about – and especially in social gatherings where folks aren’t always tuned in to these issues. We just try to be gracious guests, trust God and the 80/20 rule, and look for open doors to engage in respectful conversation about the importance of food choices. Hopefully someday, everyone will recognize these poisons for what they are.

    Written by Lacey @ KV Organics on July 20, 2012 @ 2:04 pm
  10. Hi Lacey,

    Your four kids are fortunate to have a mother who knows the importance of organic food. And, yes, eating organic in social gatherings can certainly be a challenge. I deal with it all of the time.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on July 20, 2012 @ 4:35 pm
  11. Hi Max, Wonderful article. It so sad to think that everyone accepts these levels of toxins in our foods, and that so few people I know (outside of these on-line groups) bother to buy anything organic. It’s also very challenging, because most of the supermarkets I go to, and I’m sure many others, carry only a small section of organic food, at much higher prices. People who shop for family have a hard time finding and paying for organic food, even if they are enlightened enough to look for it. Hopefully, excellent newsletters like yours will reach more people, and help turn the tide.

    Written by Lynda Goldman on July 20, 2012 @ 5:20 pm
  12. Hi Lynda,

    Thanks so much for the kind words, and I agree with you. Too many people take it at face value that small amounts of toxins are acceptable or “safe” in our bodies. For people who are knowledgeable about health, they know that this is absolutely not the case. With all of us working together, I am hopeful that we can turn the tide.

    See you at Expo East?

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on July 20, 2012 @ 6:16 pm
  13. Thanks for continuing to help bring awareness to these issues.

    2, 4-D is the ingredient of most lawn weed killers. People do not realize what they are putting on their lawns which in turn comes in their homes through dust, feet, shoes, etc. I am amazed at the numbers of people who try to eat organically but either are not aware or do not care what they are using on the rest of their landscape.

    One way to save money on organic food – grow what you can yourself. Almost anyone can grow something whether you live in an apartment, condo, townhouse, renting or owning.

    Written by Beuna on August 25, 2012 @ 10:21 am
  14. Hi Beuna,

    I agree with your – organic lawncare is an issue that gets widely ignored but needs to be paid attention to. Yes, growing your own food is very important and that is why we are seeing a huge surge in these vertical growing systems for urban dwellers.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on August 25, 2012 @ 12:36 pm
  15. Hi Max,

    Many thanks for this article, its truly an eye opener!

    Is there a Yelp or something comparable to locating organic eateries?

    Curious as I sit here to look for new options.

    Thanks!

    Pawan N.

    Written by Pawan Narwani on February 13, 2013 @ 12:57 pm
  16. Hi Max,
    I struggle with this everyday feeding my 2 year old and my unborn child healthy real food! I live in Minnesota where we get about 3-4 growing months in our home gardens. Then after that we have to pay a lot for organic produce. I try to follow the dirty dozen plus list to safe some money. Do you disagree with buying any nonorganic produce? From this article it sounds that way. This article makes me feel very guilty for feeding my kids nonorganic.

    Written by Candice on February 13, 2013 @ 3:46 pm
  17. My pleasure Pawan!

    For organic restaurants in Boston, there are not many options. Here are two:

    http://livingmaxwell.com/life-alive-cambridge

    http://livingmaxwell.com/revitalive-organic-restaurant-newburyport-boston-mass (they deliver to Boston, too)

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on February 15, 2013 @ 1:08 pm
  18. Hi Candice,

    Buying organic comes down to two factors: affordability and accessibility. Can a person afford it? Is it accessible?

    Every family has a different situation, and parents have to make the ultimate decision about the right thing to do and how they want to spend their money. The bodies of kids are still developing and getting them organic as much as possible is ideal.

    Do not feel guilty. Just do the best that you can do and whatever you think is in the best interest of your family.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on February 15, 2013 @ 1:25 pm
  19. Max should be the next appointment to the FDA. It needs someone not tied to big food and politics. Great article.

    Written by Matt OQuinn on April 20, 2013 @ 11:34 pm
  20. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for your words! I am certainly not the person but we do need someone who isn’t afraid to make the hard decisions.

    Live well,
    Max

    Written by Max Goldberg on April 29, 2013 @ 1:58 pm
  21. Hey Max,

    Great post, I totally agree with you. I really admire your stance as it shows what you vaule and your unwillingness to budge. I think it gets others thinking maybe I should be a little more strict when it comes to the things I am putting in my children s body also.

    Totally lame about Dana Farber although I am becoming numb to all the misleading information coming form organizations I once thought I could trust….

    Written by Sarah on October 31, 2013 @ 1:20 pm
  22. Max,
    Thank you so much for this well-written and informative article. As a 22 year old full-time working mom and (chemistry) student it is difficult to buy all organic products. But I do. I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, there are people out there who tell me I’d be better off using WIC to purchase generic brands (despite being full of GMOs). I politely laugh it off. Come on. These are our children!

    Written by Cierra on April 12, 2014 @ 5:44 pm

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