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Jul 30, 2009

Plants Make Natural Pesticides

07/29/09 - Via M.D.O.D by 911Doc

Organic foods are not more nutritious than conventional foods, but what about the pesticide residues?

Study Finds Organic Food Is Not Healthier
07/29/09 - Reuters by Ben Hirschler

[edited] A review of 162 scientific papers published in the last 50 years finds no significant difference in nutritional or health benefits between organic and ordinary food.

Alan Dangour: "A small number of differences in nutrient content were found between organic and conventional food, but these are unlikely to be of any public health relevance. There is no evidence to prefer organic over conventional foods based on nutrition."

Plants Produce Natural Pesticides
5/24/1989 - FortFreedom - Paper by Bruce N. Ames, Chairman of Biochemistry at U.California Berkeley

[edited] The bad news is that our plant foods contain carcinogens, natural pesticides that cause cancer in rats. Examples are basil, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, fennel, grapefruit, mushroom, mustard, orange, parsley, parsnips, pepper, pineapple, and raspberry.

These chemicals are present at levels ranging from 70 ppb (parts per billion) to 4 parts per thousand. These levels are enormously higher than the amounts of man-made pesticide residues in plant foods.

The good news is that the risk of cancer is negligible at levels far below the maximum tolerated dose given to rats. I am not even very concerned about the risk from allyl isothiocyanate, a natural carcinogen present in cabbage at 40,000 ppb and in brown mustard at 900,000 ppb. Most leading scientists and I are very skeptical about making worst-case, low-dose extrapolations from high-dose animal tests.

Here is an example of a low-dose extrapolation. We might observe that 95% of adults will be legally drunk after drinking 6 beers in an hour, 12 ounces each. We might extrapolate that 1.3% (1/72nd) of those people will be drunk after drinking one ounce of beer.

10 Poisonous Foods We Eat Every Day
03/28/2011 - Foodista

[edited] These fruits, vegetables, and beans contain chemicals that are toxic to humans and animals. Often the fruit is perfectly safe, but beware of the leaves and seeds. Be careful of that apple-a-day. Just a few undercooked red kidney beans will send you to the hospital.

Lima Beans, Yuca (Cassava/Manioc Root), Nutmeg, Kidney Beans, some types of Almonds, Tomatoes, Cherries, Apricots, Peaches, Plums, Rhubarb, green Potatoes, and Apple seeds.

Organic Pesticides Fail EU Safety Review
03/30/09 - OpenMarket by Greg Conko

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has rejected 13 of 27 commonly used "organic" pesticides. That organic carrot doesn't look as good any more.

Some of the organic pesticides might be dangerous, so it is reasonable to test them. But as above, the risks from pesticides are probably highly exaggerated.

Synthetic vs Natural Pesticides
06/06/2007 - NYTimes By John Tierney

[edited] About 99.9% of the chemicals humans eat are natural. The amount of synthetic pesticide residues are insignificant compared to the natural pesticides produced by the plants. 99.99% of dietary pesticides are natural. Plants produce these chemicals to defend themselves against fungi, insects, and other animal predators.

Average Americans eat 5,000 to 10,000 natural pesticides and their breakdown products. Each eats 1,500 mg (1/3 teaspoon) of natural pesticides each day, about 10,000 times more than the 0.09 mg of synthetic pesticide residues.

Natural pesticides make up 99.99% of the pesticides in our diet, and synthetic pesticides are the remaining .01%. These pesticides are equally likely to be cancer-causing, but it does not follow that they are causing human cancer.

Dr. Bruce Ames and Dr. Lois Swirsky Gold believe most of these natural or synthetic pesticides don’t present problems because the exposures are very low compared to the high doses given to rodents in lab tests.

Dr. Ames: "Everything you eat in the supermarket is chock full of carcinogens, but most cancers are not due to parts per billion of pesticides. They’re due to causes like smoking, bad diets, and obesity."

Dietary Pesticides are 99.99% All Natural
07/19/1990 - At JStor - by by Bruce N. Ames, Margie Profet and Lois Swirsky Gold

[edited] We examined the toxicological significance of exposure to synthetic chemicals compared to naturally occurring chemicals. 99.99% by weight of the pesticides in the American diet are produced within plants to defend themselves. Only 52 natural pesticides have been tested in high-dose animal cancer tests; about half (27) are rodent carcinogens present in many common foods.

We conclude that natural and synthetic chemicals are equally likely to be carcinogenic in animal tests. We also conclude that the comparative hazards of synthetic pesticide residues are insignificant at the low doses of typical human exposures.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

I hear what you are saying but three things to note;
1. Plant chemistry is complex whereas synthetic chemicals and simple. Complex chemistry has a lot more checks and balances
2. We have evolved with plants and so our bodies know how to take the good and reject the bad.
3. We have a symbiotic relationship with a lot of plants where they depend on living things eating their fruit to dispurse their seed.
For me I can eat organic applies but the pesticides used on normal apples make me cough and splutter for weeks on end.

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