As if we needed any more evidence that pesticides are bad for human health, three independent scientific papers have provided some of the strongest evidence yet of the link between exposure to organophosphate (OP) pesticides and lower IQ levels among children. Published in the latest Environmental Health Perspectives journal, the results suggest that prenatal exposure to OPs can have a lasting and damaging effect on our children. Researchers from the University of California, Columbia University, and Mount Sinai School of Medicine all found that children exposed to higher levels of OP while in the womb were likely to have significantly lower intelligence scores by age seven than children who were not exposed.
The New York Times recently published a letter written by Michael Pollan to the next President of the United States. He begins by pointing out that this is the first time a U.S. President has had to deal with a national food crisis since the Nixon administration. However, the crisis is different this time because asking for an increase in food production would further harm other campaign priorities – the health care crisis, energy independence or climate change. In fact, Pollan points out that that the United States needs to reform the entire food system because he says the next President “will quickly discover that the way we currently grow, process and eat food in America goes to the heart of all three problems and will have to change if we hope to solve them.”
One of Pollan’s proposed solutions for weaning today’s agricultural system off of fossil fuel use is to: “make optimal use of sunlight, crop plants and animals must once again be married on the farm — as in Wendell Berry’s elegant ‘solution.’ Sunlight nourishes the grasses and grains, the plants nourish the animals, the animals then nourish the soil, which in turn nourishes the next season’s grasses and grains. Animals on pasture can also harvest their own feed and dispose of their own waste — all without our help or fossil fuel.”
To read Pollan’s explanation of how our current food system contributes to many of today’s problems in the US and his proposed solutions click here for the full letter to the President-elect or better yet the next Farmer in Chief.