In part, thanks to comedian/host Howie Mandel, fist bumping is all the rage. For the uninitiated, a fist bump has replaced a handshake as a cool way for people to greet and avoid germs.
As a borderline germaphobe myself, I have no problem with it. There is nothing wrong with being conscious of germs and wanting to avoid catching a cold or flu. And, by the way, according to this blog you are four times less likely to do so by fist bumping as opposed to a handshake.
However, as much as I would like to avoid a case of the sniffles or even the flu, that pales in comparison to my concerns about pesticide use and my desire to avoid things like cancer and nerve damage.
Fruits and vegetables that are not organic may have pesticides used on them that are said to be:
- Carcinogenic – Which have the potential to cause cancer.
- Hormone disruptors – Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that, at certain doses, can interfere with the endocrine (or hormone system) in mammals. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders.
- Neurotoxins – A poison that acts on the nervous system.
- Developmental or Reproductive Toxins – It includes adverse effects on sexual function and fertility in adult males and females, as well as developmental toxicity in the offspring.
If someone with a cold were preparing food at a restaurant and not washing his hands, I’d want to know and avoid that restaurant. For me, the same holds true with what I view as chemical poison. Even if the dose is allegedly low enough that it is supposedly not dangerous, the site of someone wearing a HAZMAT suit and spraying what they would have me eat is disturbing.
The website, What’s On My Food?, “is a searchable database designed to make the public problem of pesticide exposure visible and more understandable.” On the site there are many foods you can look up to see what you are being exposed to when you eat non-organic.
The effect pesticides have on health is debated. The government allegedly regulates them to safe levels. However with the rate of cancer diagnosis soaring from 1 in 20 to 1 in 3 for woman and 1 in 2 for men, it is hard to ignore areas where a potential cause or contribution to the cause of cancer exists.
An interesting observation I came across in looking over the What’s On My Food website is that frozen food seems to have less than its fresh counterpart. For example, spinach is listed as having 54 pesticide residues found by the USDA pesticide data program. Frozen spinach is listed as having 30.
Some other considerations for people on a budget: The Environmental Working Group puts out what they call the dirty dozen and clean 15… These lists include what are considered the most and least pesticide laden foods.
Lastly, genetically modified foods are also something I seek to avoid. At this time eating 100% organic is considered an easy way to do that. Genetic modification is another area where we see Monsanto’s footprint and influence. The United States lags behind many other countries as far their allowance and use of GMO’s. Another reason to be skeptical of their pesticide allowance.
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