pesticides

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Eat your fruits and vegetables. Make informed choices to reduce the amount of pesticides you and your family are eating and buy organic produce whenever possible, it’s healthier for you and for the planet.

Let me also say that it’s SO important to eat your fruits and vegetables… organic or not. If organic isn’t an option, pick the fruits and vegetables anyway because it’s better than not eating them at all.

Nutritionists recommend that adults and children consume at least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables daily (CDC 2009). The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that this advice is not being followed – less than a third of adults meet the current guidelines. Even more disturbing, only one in three high school students ate enough fruit, and less than one in five ate the recommended number of vegetables (CDC 2009a).

The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Eating conventionally grown produce is far better than skipping fruits and vegetables. But with the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide, consumers don’t have to choose between pesticides and healthy diets.

Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides. The Guide is developed based on data from nearly 96,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce. There are two lists. The “Dirty Dozen” lists produce varieties that have most pesticide contamination so you should always buy these organic or avoid them. The other list is the “Clean 15“, the produce the EWG has found to have the least pesticide contamination.

We’ve talked before about avoiding toxic chemicals when you’re Green(ing) Your Lawn. We don’t want pesticides entering our bodies through our skin and we certainly don’t want to injest them. The EWG points out that there is a growing consensus in the scientific community that even small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can have adverse effects on health, especially during vulnerable periods such as fetal development and childhood. The bottom line is that when it comes to pesticide use, there is more to consider than just the residues that you are ingesting. Although peeled foods such as mangoes, avocados and kiwis may spare the consumer from significant pesticide exposure, it is possible that large amounts of pesticides and herbicides are used on the farms from which these originate, contaminating groundwater, promoting erosion and otherwise damaging local ecosystems. To help promote the health of the planet as well as your own health, it’s best to buy organic whenever possible.

DIRTY DOZEN (2012) – Buy These Organic

1
AppleApples
2
CeleryCelery
3
Red PepperSweet bell peppers
4
PeachesPeaches
5
StrawberriesStrawberries
6
NectarinesNectarines – imported
7
GrapesGrapes
8
SpinachSpinach
9
LettuceLettuce
10
CucumberCucumbers
11
BlueberriesBlueberries – domestic
12
PotatoePotatoes
Plus
+
Green BeansGreen beans
+
KaleKale/Greens
+ May contain pesticide residues of special concern

The Dirty Dozen was expanded with a Plus category to highlight two crops — green beans and leafy greens, meaning, kale and collard greens – that did not meet traditional Dirty Dozen criteria but were commonly contaminated with highly toxic organophosphate insecticides. These insecticides are toxic to the nervous system and have been largely removed from agriculture over the past decade. But they are not banned and still show up on some food crops.

Commodity crop corn used for animal feed and biofuels is almost all produced with genetically modified (GMO) seeds, as is some sweet corn sold for human consumption. Since GMO sweet corn is not labeled as such in US stores, EWG advises those who have concerns about GMOs to buy organic sweet corn.

CLEAN 15 (2012) – Lowest in Pesticides
1
OnionsOnions
2
Sweet CornSweet Corn (but if you are concerned about GMOs buy organic sweet corn)
3
PineapplePineapples
4
AvocadoAvocado
5
CabbageCabbage
6
PeasSweet peas
7
AsparagusAsparagus
8
MangoMangoes
9
EggplantEggplant
10
KiwiKiwi
11
CantelopeCantaloupe – domestic
12
Sweet PotatoesSweet potatoes
13
GrapefruitGrapefruit
14
WatermelonWatermelon
15
MushroomsMushrooms

Source: DrWeil.com and EWG.org

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

EWG’s Food News

You can find a detailed description of the criteria the EWG used to develop their rankings and the complete list of fruits and vegetables tested at their dedicated website, www.foodnews.org. Read the FAQs for more eye opening information.

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Editor’s Note: Each Tuesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel ProgramWe also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Tuesday at WDAY.com or, if you’re in North Dakota or western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: You don’t need to use commercial herbicides and pesticides to create a beautiful lawn.

We all want a beautiful lawn we can be proud of, but at what price? Is it really that important to have a perfect, weed-free lawn for a season or healthy children and pets for a lifetime?

According to a study from the University of Minnesota, children of pesticide applicators have “significantly higher rates of birth defects than the average population.” Another study, this one from the University of Southern California found that young infants and toddlers exposed to weedkillers within their first year of life are four-and-a-half times more likely to develop asthma by the time they are five and almost two-and-a-half times more likely when exposed to insecticides. The studies go on and on that link childhood exposure to chemicals to cancer, asthma and learning and developmental disorders.

Lawn Fact: During a typical year in neighborhoods across the country, over 102 million pounds of toxic pesticides are applied in pursuit of a perfect lawn and garden. This figure, up from 90 million pounds in the year 2000, continues to grow despite the growing body of scientific evidence that links pesticides to health and environmental risks. 

Source: Beyond Pesticides

Children and lawn chemicals don’t mix!

  • The National Academy of Sciences reports that children are more susceptible to chemicals than adults and estimates that 50% of lifetime pesticide exposure occurs during the first five years of life.
  • EPA concurs that children take in more pesticides relative to body weight than adults and have developing organ systems that are more vulnerable and less able to detoxify toxic chemicals.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) cites that over 30% of the global burden of disease in children can be attributed to environmental factors, including pesticides.
  • Studies show that children living in households where pesticides are used suffer elevated rates of leukemia, brain cancer and soft tissue sarcoma.
  • A 2005 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that students and school employees are being poisoned by pesticide use at schools and from drift off of neighboring farmlands.

So, do you have to have an ugly, weedy lawn? Absolutely not. The National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns has some easy tips you can use to create a healthy lawn.

  • Make sure your mower blades are sharp and keep your grass height at 3 to 3 1/2 inches.
  • Some weeds are the result of using poor quality grass seed. Make sure you use the proper grass seed for your region.
  • Many “weeds” have beneficial qualities. For example, clover takes nitrogen from the atmosphere and distributes it to the grass, which helps it grow. Clover roots are also extensive and very drought-resistant, providing resources to soil organisms. It also stays green long after your lawn goes naturally dormant.

Is an occasional dandelion, knotweed or clover cause for alarm? No! Dandelions’ deep roots return nutrients to the surface, crabgrass provides erosion control and I’ve already extolled the virtues of clover. And by not using chemicals on your lawn you are helping your children, pets, neighbors and our planet live a healthier life.

Need some non-toxic gardening tips?

  • Visit Loving Natures Garden. Alison Kerr will give you the inspiration you need to keep your garden green.
  • Another wonderful site is Ecosystem Gardening – Carole Brown is ready to help you Create Wildlife Habitats and Protect the Environment.

Know the health and environmental impacts of the products you’re using to improve your lawn and garden.

Locally in the Fargo-Moorhead area:

Visit the Easter Set at the West Acres Center Court to purchase spring flowers and blooming plants to benefit the Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society. Purchases can be made from March 23rd thru April 8th, see you there!

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Beyond Pesticides
Beyond Pesticides (formerly National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides) works with allies in protecting public health and the environment to lead the transition to a world free of toxic pesticides. The founders, who established Beyond Pesticides as a nonprofit membership organization in 1981, felt that without the existence of such an organized, national network, local, state and national pesticide policy would become, under chemical industry pressure, increasingly unresponsive to public health and environmental concerns.

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Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately1220pm (central) every Wednesday at WDAY.com or, if you’re in North Dakota or western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: You don’t need to use commercial herbicides and pesticides to create a beautiful lawn.

We all want a beautiful lawn we can be proud of, but at what price? Is it really that important to have a perfect, weed-free lawn for a season or healthy children and pets for a lifetime?

As I was researching this topic, I came upon a study from the University of Minnesota that really hit home. In the study, 210,723 live births in Minnesota farming communities found that children of pesticide applicators have “significantly higher rates of birth defects than the average population.” Another study, this one from the University of Southern California found that young infants and toddlers exposed to weedkillers within their first year of life are four-and-a-half times more likely to develop asthma by the time they are five and almost two-and-a-half times more likely when exposed to insecticides. The studies go on and on that link childhood exposure to chemicals to cancer, asthma and learning and developmental disorders.

Lawn Fact: During a typical year in neighborhoods across the country, over 102 million pounds of toxic pesticides are applied in pursuit of a perfect lawn and garden. This figure, up from 90 million pounds in the year 2000, continues to grow despite the growing body scientific evidence of the public health and environmental consequences.

Source: Beyond Pesticides

Children and lawn chemicals don’t mix!

  • The National Academy of Sciences reports that children are more susceptible to chemicals than adults and estimates that 50% of lifetime pesticide exposure occurs during the first five years of life.
  • EPA concurs that children take in more pesticides relative to body weight than adults and have developing organ systems that are more vulnerable and less able to detoxify toxic chemicals.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) cites that over 30% of the global burden of disease in children can be attributed to environmental factors, including pesticides.
  • Studies show that children living in households where pesticides are used suffer elevated rates of leukemia, brain cancer and soft tissue sarcoma.
  • A 2005 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that students and school employees are being poisoned by pesticide use at schools and from drift off of neighboring farmlands.

So, do you have to have an ugly, weedy lawn? Absolutely not. The National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns has some easy tips you can use to create a healthy lawn.

  • Make sure your mower blades are sharp and keep your grass height at 3 to 3 1/2 inches.
  • Some weeds are the result of using poor quality grass seed. Make sure you use the proper grass seed for your region.
  • Many “weeds” have beneficial qualities. For example, clover takes nitrogen from the atmosphere and distributes it to the grass, which helps it grow. Clover roots are also extensive and very drought-resistant, providing resources to soil organisms. It also stays green long after your lawn goes naturally dormant.

Is an occasional dandelion, knotweed or clover cause for alarm? No! Dandelions’ deep roots return nutrients to the surface, crabgrass provides erosion control and I’ve already extolled the virtues of clover. And by not using chemicals on your lawn you are helping your children, pets, neighbors and our planet live a healthier life.

Need some non-toxic gardening tips?

  • Visit Loving Natures Garden. Alison Kerr will give you the inspiration you need to keep your garden green.
  • Another wonderful site is Ecosystem Gardening – Carole Brown is ready to help you Create Wildlife Habitats and Protect the Environment.

Know the health and environmental impacts of the products you’re using to improve your lawn and garden.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Beyond Pesticides
Beyond Pesticides (formerly National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides) works with allies in protecting public health and the environment to lead the transition to a world free of toxic pesticides. The founders, who established Beyond Pesticides as a nonprofit membership organization in 1981, felt that without the existence of such an organized, national network, local, state and national pesticide policy would become, under chemical industry pressure, increasingly unresponsive to public health and environmental concerns.

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: You don’t need to use commercial herbicides and pesticides to create a beautiful lawn.

We all want a beautiful lawn we can be proud of, but at what price? Is it really that important to have a perfect, weed-free lawn for a season or healthy children and pets for a lifetime? Well, the answer is obvious so it mystifies me that people continue to dump chemicals on their yards and gardens not to mention the farmers who do the same.

As I was researching this topic, I came upon a study from the University of Minnesota that really hit home. In the study, 210,723 live births in Minnesota farming communities found that children of pesticide applicators have “significantly higher rates of birth defects than the average population.” Another study, this one from the University of Southern California found that young infants and toddlers exposed to weedkillers within their first year of life are four-and-a-half times more likely to develop asthma by the time they are five and almost two-and-a-half times more likely when exposed to insecticides. The studies go on and on that link childhood exposure to chemicals to cancer, asthma and learning and developmental disorders.

Lawn Fact: During a typical year in neighborhoods across the country, over 102 million pounds of toxic pesticides are applied in pursuit of a perfect lawn and garden. This figure, up from 90 million pounds in the year 2000, continues to grow despite the growing body scientific evidence of the public health and environmental consequences.

Source: Beyond Pesticides

Children and lawn chemicals don’t mix!

  • The National Academy of Sciences reports that children are more susceptible to chemicals than adults and estimates that 50% of lifetime pesticide exposure occurs during the first five years of life.
  • EPA concurs that children take in more pesticides relative to body weight than adults and have developing organ systems that are more vulnerable and less able to detoxify toxic chemicals.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) cites that over 30% of the global burden of disease in children can be attributed to environmental factors, including pesticides.
  • Studies show that children living in households where pesticides are used suffer elevated rates of leukemia, brain cancer and soft tissue sarcoma.
  • A 2005 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that students and school employees are being poisoned by pesticide use at schools and from drift off of neighboring farmlands.

So, do you have to have an ugly, weedy lawn? Absolutely not. The National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns has some easy tips you can use to create a healthy lawn. They caution that bad mowing practices can cause many lawn problems so make sure your mower blades are sharp and keep your grass height at 3 to 3 1/2 inches. Also, some weeds are the result of using poor quality grass seed. Make sure you use the proper grass seed for your region. And remember many “weeds” have beneficial qualities. For example, clover takes nitrogen from the atmosphere and distributes it to the grass, which helps it grow. Clover roots are also extensive and very drought-resistant, providing resources to soil organisms. It also stays green long after your lawn goes naturally dormant.

Is an occasional dandelion, knotweed or clover cause for alarm? No! Dandelions’ deep roots return nutrients to the surface, crabgrass provides erosion control and I’ve already extolled the virtues of clover. And by not using chemicals on your lawn you are helping your children, pets, neighbors and our planet live a healthier life.

Need some non-toxic gardening tips?

  • Visit Loving Natures Garden. Alison Kerr will give you the inspiration you need to keep your garden green.
  • Another wonderful site is Ecosystem Gardening – Carole Brown is ready to help you Create Wildlife Habitats and Protect the Environment.

Know the health and environmental impacts of the products you’re using to improve your lawn and garden.

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

Beyond Pesticides
Beyond Pesticides (formerly National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides) works with allies in protecting public health and the environment to lead the transition to a world free of toxic pesticides. The founders, who established Beyond Pesticides as a nonprofit membership organization in 1981, felt that without the existence of such an organized, national network, local, state and national pesticide policy would become, under chemical industry pressure, increasingly unresponsive to public health and environmental concerns.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at WDAY.com. UPDATED TIME: Wendy’s segment is now live at 1220pm (central) starting the Fall of 2010.

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: You don’t need to use commercial herbicides and Little Greek goddesspesticides to create a beautiful lawn.

We all want a beautiful lawn we can be proud of, but at what price? Is it really that important to have a perfect, weed-free lawn for a season or healthy children and pets for a lifetime? Well, the answer is obvious so it mystifies me that people continue to dump chemicals on their yards and gardens not to mention the farmers who do the same.

As I was researching this topic, I came upon a study that really hit home. In the study, 210,723 live births in Minnesota farming communities found that children of pesticide applicators have “significantly higher rates of birth defects than the average population.” Another study found that young infants and toddlers exposed to weedkillers within their first year of life are four-and-a-half times more likely to develop asthma by the time they are five and almost two-and-a-half times more likely when exposed to insecticides. The studies go on and on that link childhood exposure to chemicals to cancer, asthma and learning and developmental disorders.

Children and lawn chemicals don’t mix!

So, do you have to have an ugly, weedy lawn? Absolutely not. The National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns has some easy tips you can use to create a healthy lawn. They caution that bad mowing practices can cause many lawn problems so make sure your mower blades are sharp and keep your grass height at 3 to 3 1/2 inches. Also, some weeds are the result of using poor quality grass seed. Make sure you use the proper grass seed for your region. And remember many “weeds” have beneficial qualities. For example, clover takes nitrogen from the atmosphere and distributes it to the grass, which helps it grow. Clover roots are also extensive and very drought-resistant, providing resources to soil organisms. It also stays green long after your lawn goes naturally dormant.

Here’s a handy tip I got from my Mom: If you have weeds growing where you don’t want them (say, if they are peaking out from your mulch) pour vinegar, lemon juice or boiling water on them. Make sure the liquid only goes where you don’t want vegetation of any kind because it does not discriminate; it kills everything. Incidentally, boiling water also took care of a ground bee situation we had (again, a Mom tip). I waited until after dark, when the bees were back in their nest, and poured the biggest pot of boiling water I could carry on them and then ran for my life. I repeated the process the next evening . . . just in case. Problem solved without calling an exterminator.

Is an occasional dandelion, knotweed or clover cause for alarm? No! Dandelions’ deep roots return nutrients to the surface, crabgrass provides erosion control and I’ve already extolled the virtues of clover. And, by not using chemicals on your lawn you are helping your children, pets, neighbors and our planet live a healthier life.

More articles you may enjoy:
Plant an Organic Garden
Eat Your Veggies

Portions originally posted May 10, 2008

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By Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP:  Select organic wines when you are purchasing your next bottle of vino.

If you are an oenophile or a stay-at-home mom who has had enough whine during her day to enhance the pleasure of a glass of wine with dinner, you will help reduce the amount of chemicals entering the groundwater and your body by selecting an organic wine.

A study conducted by the European Pesticide Action Network (PAN) found 100% of conventional wines contained pesticides.  Every single bottle.  In all, 24 different contaminants were found including five classified as being carcinogenic, mutagenic, reprotoxic or endocrine-disrupting by the European Union.  Not the antioxidants I had in mind.

There are a number of great organic wine choices.  One of them is the Organic Wine Company, which is a great resource for information and organic wine.  Another is Frey Vineyards, they are America’s oldest organic winery and they don’t add sulfites to their wines.

The herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and other chemicals sprayed on grapes make wine one of the most intensive agricultural products around. 

Something else to think about while you’re drinking responsibly.

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By Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP:  Buy organic! 

Is it just me or does it seem like people are more interested in what’s on the outside and not so much on the inside?  I’m not just talking about people’s appearance (don’t get me started on that), I’m talking specifically about produce.  I was at the grocery store recently trying to mind my own business (I say trying because the people most near and dear to me think I’m nosey . . . I just think I’m concerned about my fellow human) and was fascinated by a woman touching and turning and mumbling about the apples.  Apparently the organic apples didn’t look as appealing as the non-organic apples.  She was perplexed because her shopping list had organic apples on it and she didn’t want to buy them.  A lot of thoughts and questions ran through my mind as I watched her.  Are you kidding me?  Do you know how many pesticides were used to produce that “perfect” apple?  Who writes out your shopping list?  Do you know how bad those pesticides are for you and for the earth?  Where did you get those adorable earrings?  Do you know why the non-organic apple looks so shiny?  It was probably buffed up with some petroleum based wax.  In the end, she didn’t buy either.  She just quickly left the produce area . . . I don’t know why.

The Environmental Working Group, an amazing non-profit organization that cares about the health and well being of our little ones and the sustainability of our earth, has done testing on 45 different fruits and vegetables to determine how many pesticides still remain after they’ve been cleaned or peeled and apples are the second worst offenders.  The average number of pesticides found on a sample was 3.1.  And the percentage of samples tested with detectable pesticides was 93.6%.  How do you like them apples?

Voting with our dollars is one way to encourage those businesses that really do care about the earth, the quality of their products and the health and well-being of their customers.  Buy organic (and local) whenever possible.

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