Following on from our post last week, ‘The Truth and Getting Informed’, today I wanted to share with you all some shocking facts I have discovered about the use of pesticides in Australian farming.
Did you know…
There are over 80 pesticides used in Australia that are banned in other countries.
This includes 17 pesticides that have the potential to cause cancer, 48 that are potential hormone disrupters, and 30 that are classified as either extremely dangerous or highly hazardous by the World Health Organisation. These pesticides are used on foods we consume every day- fruits, vegetables, grains and more. You can find the list of the 80 pesticides, their use and potential risk here.
In most countries a pesticide has to be proven safe before it can be used but in Australia the reverse is true.
In Australia, it has to be proven by conclusive scientific evidence that a pesticide is unsafe for humans before it can be banned. Think about that for a minute. It can often take years and many cases of people getting sick or worse, dying, to prove that something is unsafe. So we have to wait for that to happen, for someone to pick up on it and go to the trouble of gathering the evidence to prove it before we can put a stop to its use. In the meantime, it continues to be used and consumed every day and we are all none the wiser.
Washing your fruit and vegetables does not get rid of all pesticides.
People often think that by giving their fruit and vegetables a good wash they are able to ‘clean off’ all the chemicals that have been used in its production. That’s just not true. For example, celery has no protective skin which makes it impossible to wash off the chemicals (an average celery has 64 different chemicals on it). Grapes have a very thin skin so the pesticides soak into the fruit itself making it impossible to simply wash off (grapes have around 34 different pesticides on them) and this is the case with a lot of fruits and vegetables. The chemicals used aren’t just on the surface of the skin, they are often absorbed into the fruits and vegetables themselves.
Australian pests are becoming immune to pesticides.
The over use and reliance on pesticides by farmers for years means that many weeds and insects are now becoming resistant to pesticides. So what do the farmers do? Well, they increase their use of pesticides; they use more chemicals and they use stronger chemicals. Just like antibiotics in humans though, pesticides kill not only the ‘bad insects’ but the ‘good insects’ too. Insects serve an important purpose in our environment and by killing them all we are causing greater problems.
The average warning label on a pesticide can be about 20 pages long.
That’s 20 pages of warnings just like this (taken from the label of a commonly used pesticide)
Words like “precaution, avoid contact, do not enter, poison and toxic” are frequently used. (If you want to read the follow label you can do so here). It just goes to show how dangerous the chemicals being used really are.
So there you have it, five facts about the use of pesticides in Australian farming. Pretty scary huh? Of course the solution for us all is simple. We can make the choice to eat organic and eliminate all of these nasty pesticides from our foods full stop.
Did any of these facts surprise you? Have you come across any other shocking facts you’d like to share with us? Leave a comment below or on our facebook page, we’d love to hear from you!
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