Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
detecting a grain of salt in an Olympic-sized swimming pool!).
To illustrate, you would have to eat more than 7,000 tomatoes
per day throughout your life to reach the maximum residue
level of pesticides inherent in conventional tomatoes. Since
you eat far, far less than this, there is no reason to fear conven-
tional tomatoes.
Government agencies sample and check foods to ensure
tolerance levels are being observed, and for the most part
they are. Of the grain, dairy, seafood, and fruits sampled in
2008 none displayed residue levels above EPA's tolerance level.
Only 1.7  percent of vegetables exceeded the tolerance level.
The numbers were slightly higher for imported food, though
still less than 5 percent (save for food group “other” at 8.3 per-
cent). Other studies support this finding that pesticide resi-
dues only rarely exceed the EPA maximum. Remember, even
the rare food that does exceed the limit contains pesticides at
a far lower level than that which causes health problems in
laboratory animals.
Epidemiological studies, however, do find that pesticides
impact human health. For three years one of the authors has
printed and filed almost every article about pesticides from What percentage of these articles find that
pesticides harm human health? Almost 100 percent! One says
that prenatal exposure to DDT causes high blood pressure
later in life. Another suggests a link between the pesticide ben-
omyl and Parkinson's disease. And another links the pesticide
additive PBO with noninfectious coughing of young children.
There are many others (to see for yourself, go to ScienceDaily.
com and just search for the word “pesticide”).
The problem with epidemiological studies is that it is very
easy to establish correlations between health impacts, food,
and the environment, but establishing causation is impossible.
If consumers who eat organic food and consume less pesticide
residues also tend to eat healthier foods and exercise more,
and one finds these individuals have lower cancer rates, how
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