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Organic- Is It A Lifestyle Or Health Choice?

by Jean Shaw - All rights reserved

On the news this morning there was a debate about whether organic produce is any safer than the modern technology used on today's inorganic farms.

It was claimed if you buy local, fresh produce from the farmers markets it would have the same taste and flavour as the mostly imported organic produce found in our supermarkets.

It was agreed organic produce is more expensive than inorganic and farmers require much more land to produce their crops, so the question was

Is organic a lifestyle or a health choice?

Well let's see -

The organic movement really began in the 1960's with the publication of a report by Rachel Carson called the Silent Spring. Before I go into that I'll back track a bit to the 1940's.

It was the end of the Second World War which saw the beginning of the chemical revolution. Weapons grade chemicals and nitrates suddenly found themselves part of strong fertilizers and nerve gas became pesticide. Bugs disappeared, crops flourished.
Since then, however the Environment Protection Agency has gone on to approve over 100,000 synthetic chemicals.


Most of these man made toxins have never been tested for long term health effects either individually or in combination. However they seep into our soil, pollute our rivers and waterways and irrevocably change the ecosystems.

You'll find them in your food, drink, household products, furniture, clothing, toiletries, cosmetics, your water and especially in the air you breathe.

Apparently food is the greatest source of toxic chemicals and recently the independent Environment Working Group compiled a list of the most contaminated fruit and vegetables. They suggested by eliminating the top twelve, pesticide exposure could be reduced by 90%. The culprits were

imported grapes
sweetball peppers

Seemingly washing them doesn't help much either. The average apple apparently has 110 chemicals on it by the time you want to take a bite and even if you were to wash it carefully there would still be between 20 and 30 chemicals on the skin.

Of course, you could always discard the skins but I was always taught that part contained the most vitamins and besides how do you skin a lettuce?

The really scary thing which Rachel Carson highlighted was the way the toxins used in fertilisers and pesticides increase as they pass through the food chain. It's a process called bio-magnification and means that whatever is at the top of the food chain comes off worst.

Who is at the top of most food chains? - YOU!

Everyday we breathe in toxic chemicals especially when using household and personal care products. Spray cans are very handy but not very accurate. As they are usually used around the head area the very tiny particles easily access the body through the mouth and nose. It's hardly surprising there has been such a marked increase in asthma.

Your skin is another route for toxic chemicals and will absorb 60% of whatever you
 put on it
. It's not very selective either.

You need to bear that in mind when you put on your creams, lotions and potions especially as only 11% of the 10,500 synthetic chemicals used in the personal care and toiletries industry have ever been assessed for safety.

Your carpets and furniture contain toxic chemicals and your electric appliances emit electro magnetic fields. The clothes you wear, unless organic contain a cocktail of chemicals by way of fertilisers, pesticides, bleaches and dyes.

I've read that to make one cotton tee-shirt about 160 grams of toxic chemicals must be used and the Environment Protection Agency have said at least half of them are possible or known carcinogens.

Over time more and more people are suffering from the build up of synthetic chemicals.

Apparently each of us will be exposed to 50,000 chemical agents in our lifetime and will accumulate at least 500 toxic compounds inside us. Obviously lifestyle and occupation will play a role but for many toxin avoidance is impossible. Just consider the farmers on the cotton plantations.

There are now 200 different types of cancer and most scientists agree 80% of them are caused by toxic synthetic chemicals.

Clearly we are now fighting another war - a health war.

The only way to avoid as many chemicals as possible is to buy organic, specifically "certified organic". That way you have an independent third party guarantee of purity.

Admittedly they are more expensive but the saving on health is immense, not to mention the benefit to the planet. Poisoning is seriously affecting our soil, and wildlife. So what do you think?

Is organic a lifestyle or a health choice?

I'll leave YOU to decide but just remember who is at the top of the food chain.