Book Reviews

Book Review: The Myths of Safe Pesticides

Chemical-based conventional agriculture proponents claim that the synthesized concoctions sold as pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides are safe, if and when used as directed.

This is a myth, as most, if not all of these chemical concoctions have not been thoroughly field-tested by independent scientists. Government agencies in charge rely mostly on “research” conducted by producers.

The author, an Australian organic farmer, with a long and thorough study of all such chemicals found out that all pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides are not thoroughly tested by independent scientists for safety.

Many agricultural workers die both in North America and India due to exposure to these chemicals since even small residues are harmful. Andre Leu reveals that contrary to claims, all agricultural chemicals increase yields. This is an absolute myth, and in certain cases, organically grown fruits and vegetables surpass yields of conventional agricultural produce.

Organic farming requires more attention than conventional agriculture, the use of rotation of crops and selectively introducing insects, birds, and other animals to combat harmful insects.

The question as to why governments allow transnational chemical behemoths to continue producing insecticides, herbicides, and pesticides is simply because of political donations to all political parties and lobbyists. The amounts paid can be revealing!

These companies employ thousands of people and create employment. All contribute taxes. This is an expose of the pesticide myth. Transition to organic practices on a massive scale should be a priority everywhere, but unfortunately, long neglected.

Luckily, there are now increasingly large numbers of educated farmers who understand that organic farming is a must, and practice that.

Consumers, with a lot of help from the printed media, now demand more and more organic farming, and support organic produce although such products are unjustifiably more expensive than those farmed conventionally. Logically, a chemical that is harmful to a living organism cannot be health promoting to humans.

When chemicals are dissolved in the soil roots absorb them, and ultimately they are transferred into the food we consume. Government agencies now use the term “acceptable levels of chemicals” which, at least to my mind, sound incongruous. Some European countries control and regulate the use of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides much more rigorously.

This book should be required reading in all culinary school, and read by all cooks, chefs, and consumers so as to understand how large chemical corporations have muscled into our food production.

The Myths Of Safe Pesticides is a prescient book that deserves high praise.

Highly recommended.

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