March 4, 2013 - Our children suffer, and we turn a blind eye. Forgivable? I say no, because the suffering of which I speak was first detailed in Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring, some 50 years ago. Her contention - that the newly-devised chemicals being unleashed upon the natural world, of which we are a part, were doing unprecedented and enormous damage - was proven correct decades ago. Victory in World War II, along with our subsequent generosity toward the vanquished, led to the naive belief that America could do no wrong. Our childlike acceptance of the corporate model for progress allowed Pandora's Box to be opened. To this day, we haven't demonstrated the will to close it.
Even now, the argument " 'name a chemical' has been shown to be safe in laboratory tests" ends the discussion in far too many cases. One hundred thousand synthetic chemicals have been introduced since WWII, yet it seemingly occurs to no one to deduce that we all have been subjected to the cumulative effects of a significant number of them during the courses of our lifetimes. Yes, one such chemical, used in isolation, may be nearly harmless. But exposure to ten such chemicals, over a period of time? Twenty? Fifty? One hundred? I'll bet you didn't know you were playing a game called "How Much Can She Take," did you?
More to the point, you are permitting your children to serve as unwitting guinea pigs. Yes, I know, that's hard to believe. No one wants to believe that any group of people - and certainly not Americans - would willfully put their children in harm's way. The research has been done, and the proof is now out there. According to OEFFA News (the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association newsletter), the National Academy of Sciences estimates that one-third of all neurodevelopmental disorders in newborns are the result of exposure to pesticides and other chemicals. Put another way, our poisoned environment no longer hurts "just" the plants and animals with which we share the planet.
We're causing brain damage in our own children.
The list of abnormalities is heart-rending. Autism, birth defects, ADD, and lowered IQ: the studies cited indicate that exposure to pesticides, even at low levels, can disrupt brain development, not only in newborns, but in the unborn, as well. More than 400,000 of the four million children born in our country annually are affected by neurodevelopmental disorders. Don’t tell the companies that make pesticides, though; they don’t want to know. More than that, they think it’s a price you should be willing to pay for their enrichment.
Perhaps it would be enough to make sure your children consume only organic foods up until the age of three. Perhaps by then they would be tough enough to handle exposure to our toxic world. Anything you, as a parent, can do to limit their exposure to pesticides must surely belong in the plus column. In the meantime, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a report confirming the health benefits of organic food, especially for children. Those benefits include less exposure to pesticide residues, less exposure to antibiotic resistant bacteria, higher nutritional levels, and lower environmental impacts due to conventional farming methods. The report provides guidance to pediatricians about the benefits of organic foods, and appeared in the November 2012 issue of the journal Pediatrics.
With thanks to OEFFA News - Winter 2013.