Friday, September 14, 2007

Time to Ditch Organic Farming

Bad for you, bad for the environment (just like the Prius):

If chemical pesticides are hazardous to health, then farm workers should be most affected. The results of a 13-year study of nearly 90,000 farmers and their families in Iowa and North Carolina — the Agricultural Health Study – suggests we really don't have much to worry about. These people were exposed to higher doses of agricultural chemicals because of their proximity to spraying, and 65 per cent of them had personally spent more than 10 years applying pesticides. If any group of people were going to show a link between pesticide use and cancer, it would be them. They didn't.

A preliminary report published in 2004 showed that, compared to the normal population, their rates of cancer were actually lower. And they did not show any increased rate of brain-damaging diseases like Parkinson's. There was one exception: prostate cancer. This seemed to be linked to farmers using a particular fungicide called methyl bromide, which is now in the process of being phased out. According to James Felton, of the Biosciences Directorate of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, who also chairs the study, "The bottom line is the results are coming out surprisingly negative. It's telling us that most of the chemicals we use today are not causing cancer or other disease."

I'm not going to excerpt the whole thing; go over and read Ron Bailey's post. In short, if you think that organic food will make you healthier or the world greener, you're mistaken.

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