In recent years, it has become increasingly obvious that large-scale, chemical-based agriculture is posing an outright threat to the world’s food supply. Its dangers now far outpace any benefits that might be had in terms of efficiency.As recently reported by The Guardian,1 an international team of scientists has concluded that pesticide regulations have “failed to prevent poisoning of almost all habitats,” thereby putting global food production at great risk.Indeed, the insanity is such that you more or less have to be a sociopath to insist on business as usual in light of the ravaging harm agricultural chemicals are causing.It’s a completely unsustainable model for food production, as a toxic environment is not going to permit us to grow anything but toxic food; and that’s if anything will grow at all! As noted in the featured article:“[C]reatures essential to global food production – from bees to earthworms – are likely to be suffering grave harm and the chemicals must be phased out.”
Task Force on Systemic Pesticides Issues Stern Warning
The four-year long assessment,2 performed by 29 international researchers, focused on the environmental effects of a class of systemic insecticides known as neonicotinoids.Each year, farmers spend $2.6 billion (£1.53 billion) on the routine application of these insecticides. This despite “a striking lack of evidence” that these chemicals actually increase crop yields. According to Jean-Marc Bonmatin of the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS):3“The evidence is very clear. We are witnessing a threat to the productivity of our natural and farmed environment equivalent to that posed by organophosphates or DDT.Far from protecting food production, the use of neonicotinoid insecticides is threatening the very infrastructure which enables it.”The infrastructure he’s referring to are the pollinators, such as bees andbutterflies, without which three-quarters of our food crops cannot grow. Worms and microorganisms in the soil are equally important for food production, and pesticides are taking a heavy toll on them, too.Besides harming the infrastructure that makes food production possible, neonicotinoids also poison every single creature, large or small, that feeds on the directly treated or indirectly contaminated plant. The toxic fallout created by agricultural chemicals also affects the human population.
The Pesticide-Autism Link
Organophosphate pesticides are known for their hazards to human health. Prenatal exposure, for example, has already been linked to delayed brain development, reduced IQ, and attention deficits.I’ve also pointed out the compelling links between agricultural chemicals and autism, and new research (known as the CHARGE study4, 5) shows that living within a mile of pesticide-treated crops increases your chances of bearing children with autism. As reported by Scientific American:6“The study of 970 children, born in farm-rich areas of Northern California, is part of the largest project to date that is exploring links between autism and environmental exposures. [It is] the third project to link prenatal pesticide exposures to autism and related disorders.‘The weight of evidence is beginning to suggest that mothers’ exposures during pregnancy may play a role in the development of autism spectrum disorders,’ said Kim Harley, an environmental health researcher at the University of California, Berkeley who was not involved in the new study…[C]hildren with mothers who lived less than one mile from fields treated with organophosphate pesticides during pregnancy were about 60 percent more likely to have autism than children whose mothers did not live close to treated fields.” [Emphasis mine]