Debra Lynn Dadd

organic vs local (non-organic) produce

QUESTION:

Debra,

Things I've been reading lately have emphasized local produce over organic. In Washington state, we have a bounty of locally grown fruit, but most is not organic. A local u-pick blueberry farm (with delicious, gorgeous berries) uses copper sulfate as a fungicide and diazanon. How bad is this stuff?

POSTED BY HELEN :: WASHINGTON USA :: 07/15/2007 7:35 AM


DEBRA'S ANSWER:

The MSDS for copper sulfate says:


Potential Chronic Health Effects:
CARCINOGENIC EFFECTS: Not available.
MUTAGENIC EFFECTS: Mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells.
TERATOGENIC EFFECTS: Not available.
DEVELOPMENTAL TOXICITY: Not available.
The substance may be toxic to kidneys, liver.
Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage.


The MSDS for diazanon says:

Health Haz Acute And Chronic: SYMPTOMS OF CHOLINESTERASE INHIBITION CAN
INCLUDE HEADACHE, DIZZINESS, BLURRED VISION, WEAKNESS, NAUSEA, CRAMPS,
DIARRHEA, DISCOMFORT IN THE CHEST, NERVOUSNESS, SWEATING, PINPOINT PUPILS,
TEARING, SALIVATION, PULMONARY EDEMA, UNCONTROLLABLE MUSCLE TWITCHES,
CONVULSIONS, COMA, LOSS OF REFLEXES & SPHINCTER CONTROL.
Carcinogenicity - NTP: NO
Carcinogenicity - IARC: NO
Carcinogenicity - OSHA: NO
Explanation Carcinogenicity: THERE ARE NO INGREDIENTS ABOVE 0.1% WHICH ARE
IDENTIFIED AS CARCINOGENS BY NTP,IARC OR OSHA.
Signs/Symptoms Of Overexp: ASPIRATION HAZARD. HEADACHE, DIZZINESS, BLURRED
VISION, WEAKNESS, NAUSEA, CRAMPS, DIARRHEA, DISCOMFORT IN CHEST,
NERVOUSNESS, SWEATING, PINPOINT PUPILS, TEARING, SALIVATION, PULMONARY
EDEMA, UNCONTROLLABLE MUSCLE TWITCHES, CONVULSIONS, COMA, LOSS OF REFLEXES
& SPHINCTER CONTROL, EYE IRRITATION, SKIN IRRITATION.
Med Cond Aggravated By Exp: PRE-EXISTING SKIN DISORDERS MAY BE MORE
SUSCEPTIBLE TO THIS MATERIAL.


These MSDS are easy to find on the internet. All you have to do is type in the name of the chemical and MSDS, for example, "diazanon MSDS".

My search for diazaon MSDS also yielded:
Teacher poisoned by pesticides in classroom
Chemical Warfare Agents And Toxic Waste Disguised As Household Cleaning Products

Interestingly, I found a booklet on pesticides that stated "Diazinon - An organophosphate - not legally available for domestic use after Dec 31, 2003 and professionally by the end of 2004. Highly poisonous to birds." Since this is 2007, why are they using it?????

With regards to your local vs organic question, ideally, our local produce would be organic. It's good that you are questioning these chemicals being used on local produce. I would go to your local producer and tell them you're not buying their local produce because it's not organic.

On the other hand, if your choice is between non-organic shipped from afar and non-organic local, I'd choose the local.

Debra :-)


COMMENTS:

At our farmers market, there are local organic farms. There are even pic your own farms that are organic. I agree, bypass the non-organic farmers. I also saw one booth that said they dusted their stuff with BT, a naturally occurring bacillus and is approved for organic farming. I am not sure what this is or if it is harmful to us. check out localharvest.org to find a farmers market or pickyourown.org 

I have heard that the emphasis to support locally grown is in case something happens to our food supply(like what is happening with China)

POSTED BY SHERI :: :: SHERIANDGRACE.BLOGSPOT.COM :: TEXAS USA :: 07/20/2007 3:12 PM


The blueberry lady called to say it's picking time, so I asked her more about their spraying practices. We talked about diazanon and Debra's information. She called me a bit later to say that she was mistaken; they use malathion. I looked that up and it seems less nasty than diazanon, but, still, I don't have a peace about serving these berries to my family.

Thanks to all for your comments!

POSTED BY HELEN :: WASHINGTON USA :: 07/26/2007 5:52 PM


Hi there! I'm a certified master gardener and a certified permaculture designer. And I used to own an organic farm. So I have a lot of bias when I say "ACK! GAH! ACK! DON'T EAT THE NON-ORGANIC STUFF!"

The concepts with the localvore diets are great. And I hope that we see a lot more happening in this department. But! In my less-than-humble opinion: the organic stuff has a hundred times more value to me.

Okay, let me qualify that a bit: There are a lot of farms that are doing the organic thing without the organic label. Their stuff is every bit as good as the stuff with the official label. Unfortunately, it is really hard to tell their stuff apart from "conventional". And a lot of the conventional folks just don't understand my concerns about using the toxic gick on food.

I think Debra is on the right track pointing out the MSDS stuff. But it goes way beyond that. Most conventional farmers have never even heard of MSDS and they don't understand why some chemicals get banned other than "damn liberals."

Once you really get your head wrapped around this stuff, it really freaks you out. And it would fill a book to express all of the concerns.

So my preference is: 1) my own garden; 2) organic local; 3) organic far away.

POSTED BY PAUL WHEATON :: LAWN CARE :: WWW.RICHSOIL.COM/LAWN :: WASHINGTON USA :: 08/09/2007 2:41 PM


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