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Organic Insider


President’s Cancer Panel Report is a Huge Endorsement for Organic Food

A few days ago, the President’s Cancer Panel, a group of independent doctors and researchers, released its annual report called “Reducing our Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now”. Needless to say, the connection between the amount of chemicals/harmful toxins in our environment and the high incidence of cancer is incredibly strong, and decisive action needs to be taken.

In its letter to the President, the Panel “urges you most strongly to use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water and air that needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our Nation’s productivity, and devastate lives.”

The report recommends that in order to decrease exposure to pesticides, individuals should choose “food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers” and “exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones and toxic run-off from livestock feed lots can be minimized by eating free-range meat without these medications.”

Essentially, they are saying to eat organic food because conventional food is laced with dangerous chemicals that increase our chances for cancer.

And, this is coming from an independent panel not paid for by special interest or industry groups.  The two main authors are LaSalle Leffall, Jr., M.D., from Howard University and Margaret Kripke, PhD, from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

It is a long report and covers many areas (not just food) so I will give you some of the most salient points/information.

– Children are at higher risk than adults for cancer and other adverse health effects from pesticide exposures.

– Risks for childhood cancers are linked with parental pesticide exposure prior to conception, in utero exposures, and direct exposures throughout childhood.

– Nearly 1,400 pesticides have been registered (i.e., approved) by the EPA for agricultural and non-agricultural use. Exposure to these chemicals has been linked to brain/central nervous system, breast, colon, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, kidney, testicular and stomach cancers, as well as Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma and soft-tissue sarcoma.

– In the aggregate, registered pesticides contain nearly 900 active ingredients, many of which are toxic.

– Atrazine, an herbicide primarily used in corn production and now banned in Europe, is the number one pesticide contaminant of ground water, surface water and drinking water. WE USE 80 MILLION POUNDS OF IT.

Atrazine has been shown to affect mamary gland development in animal studies, with some findings suggesting multigenerational effects. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified atrazine as a group 3 human carcinogen.

Some evidence suggests that eliminating atrazine would would have little impact on usable crop levels.

– Nitrogen fertilizers, which is what is used on conventional crops, may increase the risk of cancer due to the breakdown of nitrogen by digestive enzymes.

Nitrates, which are derived from nitrogen fertilizers, have been shown to cause tumors at multiple organ sites in every animal species tested, including neurological system cancers following transplacental exposure.

– Phosphate fertilizers are are often contaminated with cadmium, and in the food supply cadmium is most highly concentrated in grains and seafood. For decades, residents of southern Louisiana have had pancreatic cancer rates markedly higher than the national average.

Phosphate fertilizers also accelerate the leaching of arsenic from soils into groundwater. Further, the addition of phosphates to soil has been found to increase arsenic accumulation in wheat.


I take away several things from this report.

1) I am not surprised in the least. The government is absolutely not protecting us.

Instead, Congress panders to powerful corporations and special interest groups who help to keep them in office. It is more important for politicians to hold onto their jobs than to protect the citizens of this country.

2) It is critical for people who have young children or plan on having children to be well-informed about what is going on in our food supply. Kids are much more susceptible to pesticides than adults are.  And, it doesn’t start when they are born. It starts before a woman gets pregnant.

3) Given that this is a report to the President, how can he now justify the recent appointment of Siddiqui to the Chief Agricultural Negotiator post? It is an absolute travesty that we have someone representing us around the world pushing GMO food, and of course, the toxic pesticides that go hand-in-hand with GMO seeds.

4) It is super-important for people to support organic. Conventional wisdom is that organic food will just always be there when we go to the market. However, this is simply not the case.

Despite the fact that organic is becoming more popular than ever by consumers, organic is being attacked by all sides.

If organic, chemical-free, high-quality food is important to you, please get involved. One way is to support a non-profit dedicated to the cause.

My favorite organization is The Center for Food Safety in Washington, D.C. They are constantly litigating Monsanto and others to help keep organic on the shelves.

I have interviewed Andrew Kimbrell, the executive director of The Center for Food Safety, and I can attest that he and his team are doing an amazing job on our behalf. We need to support this and other similar organizations as much as we can.

If you know anyone who has young children, please forward this article to them. It is essential that parents truly know what is going on.

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Living Maxwell


Should You ALWAYS Eat Organic?

Recently, I got a comment from a woman who felt guilty about feeding her kids pesticide-laden, conventionally-grown food and asked if she “should always feed them organic.”

As someone who is very passionate about organic, I am going to be biased about organic food, which should not come as a surprise to anyone.

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Organic Insider


NYT: Pesticides are Making the Water in California Undrinkable, Citizens Must Buy Bottled Water

All we hear from the chemical industry is that synthetic pesticides are safe to consume, and they will go to any length to make sure that Americans are exposed to as many chemicals as possible.

Here are a few examples.

* A pro-chemical group called The Alliance for Food and Farming attacked the Environmental Working Group‘s Dirty Dozen list, the list of the most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables, and demanded that the EWG stop publishing it.

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Living Maxwell


Why Conventional Spinach is NOT a Smart Choice

The next time some expert tells you that the most important thing to do for your health is to consume large amounts of fruits and vegetables, regardless of whether they are organic or not, you may want to educate this person about the latest scientific research and government data.

As I wrote about the other day, a study out of Harvard found that women undergoing infertility treatment in the U.S. — and who were also consuming fruits and vegetables with high amounts of pesticide residue — were associated with a lower chance of pregnancy and a higher risk of pregnancy loss.

Men are equally as impacted by the harmful effects of pesticides.

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