Mark Bittman (NYT) writes about pesticides in… well, everything. As he points out this is not new but it is important, and after getting better following Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, it’s getting much worse again… Two quotes below but read the full article, its pretty short.
I was impressed by a statement by the American Association of Pediatrics — not exactly a radical organization — warning parents of the dangers of pesticide and recommending that they try to reduce contact with them. The accompanying report calls the evidence “robust” for associations between pesticide exposure and cancer specifically brain tumors and leukemia and “adverse” neurodevelopment, including lowered I.Q., autism, and attention disorders and hyperactivity. Alzheimer’s, obviously not a pediatric concern, has also been linked to pesticide exposure.
If I were of child-rearing age now, or the parent of young children, I would make every effort to buy organic food. If I couldn’t do that, I would rely on the Environmental Working Group’s guide to pesticides in produce. (Their “Dirty Dozen” lists those fruits and vegetables with highest pesticide residues, and their “Clean Fifteen” notes those that are lowest.) But regardless of age, we need to stay awake, and remember that the dangers of pesticides are as real now as they were half a century ago.