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Year in and year out, agricultural pesticides have been the subject of considerable fear-mongering, leaving the typical consumer with the impression that these chemicals taint much of our food supply and are harmful to human health. In fact, just the opposite is closer to the truth. The published scholarly literature has failed to turn up evidence of adverse human health effects from use of modern pesticides in the real world. Furthermore, in light of the current economic perturbations, as well as the progressive severity of...

FeedingTheWorld!There they go again: a group of academics long-devoted to finding pesticide toxicity by any means necessary has accomplished their goal! What goal, you ask? They have attained a vast amount of media attention (sure, mostly in the enviro-blogosphere, but many mainstream folks have swallowed this whole as well, thanks to the PR folks at UC-Davis and that font of anti-chemical nonsense, Environmental Health Perspectives).

This poor excuse for a scientific study lacks only a few of the sine qua nons required for even an association linkage...

ACSH's unflappable medical director Gilbert Ross was quoted in the May 8, 2002 New York Times article "Study Finds Far Less Pesticide Residue on Organic Produce":

"So what?" said the council's Dr. Gilbert Ross. "The health risks associated with pesticide residues on food are not at all established. I think the amount of pesticide residues to which we are exposed on our foods pose no significant health risks to human beings."

A May 5, 2006 article by Ron Bailey on Reason.com, reprinted in the May 21 Chicago Sun-Times, notes ACSH's skepticism about oft-repeated claims that environmental chemicals are disrupting human sex hormones:

But there is another puzzle -- exposures to many of the most suspect pesticides have been declining for decades. A 2002 study of synthetic chemical residues in human breast milk supported by an activist group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, concluded, "Over the past few decades, levels of the organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, and dioxins have declined in breast milk in countries where these...

ACSH s trip to Capitol Hill in D.C. was a big success, report Executive Director Dr. Gilbert Ross and Director of Development and Media Jody Manley. Through meetings with representatives from the USDA and Congress, Dr. Ross and Ms. Manley were able to advance the ACSH message of sound science. Along with Dr. Allan Felsot, Professor of Entomology and Environmental Toxicology at Washington State University, they promoted the recent ACSH publication, authored by Dr. Felsot, on the importance of pesticides, entitled Pesticides and Health: Myths vs. Realities. Dr. Felsot shared his extensive knowledge of the benefits of pesticides to both the...

Today's topic: natural pesticides.

At Nutrition News Focus, we were recently questioned about a statement in NNF that 99.99 percent of the pesticides we eat are natural. This has been known by scientists for many years, but some activists try to give the impression that man-made chemicals must be bad while natural ones must be good. Well, chemicals are chemicals. In fact, all of us are just big bags of chemicals held in by skin.

The famous and highly-respected scientist Bruce Ames wrote in 1990 that plants produce toxins to protect themselves against fungi, insects, and animal predators. Tens of thousands of these natural pesticides have been discovered, and Americans on average eat about 1.5 grams of natural pesticides per day. (See an article on the topic by Ames and...

The disconnect on the issue of marijuana between the federal government and state governments is causing an expected issue for growers. In states where marijuana is legal, like Oregon and Colorado, growers are running into a common problem in agriculture: pests.

When growing any other crop, farmers turn to pesticides (like neonicotinoids) to deal with infestations. However, pesticide use on crops has to be approved by the government. These states are slowly working on drafting regulations, but usually the federal government makes the determination on which pesticides can be used on which crops. However, the federal government...

At least two United States senators have concluded that American children are at risk because parents are not warned about pesticides sprayed at schools. Some scientists disagree and claim that the senators are unnecessarily alarming parents based on an unfounded health scare and are consequently misdirecting priorities for children's health.

Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash) and Robert Toricelli (D-NJ) recently introduced the "School Environment Protection Act," which among other things would require schools to notify parents when and which pesticides are being used at school. "This bill tells parents and teachers what we need to know to protect our children," Murray said at a Capitol Hill press conference last Fall.

A spokesperson for Murray told ACSH that, despite the...

The USDA released two reports that deserve a little recognition beyond the community providing and collecting the data. The first reports on pesticides and the second on antibiotics in our food supply.

Pesticides

The USDA is reporting on a voluntary sampling of foods representing geographically about 50% of our population and major agricultural areas. The foods include imports and those labeled as organic. Samples were collected at points close to consumer purchase, like warehouse distribution centers and handled as recommended, washed gently in water for about 20 seconds. The 521 pesticides and 21 environmental contaminants [1] to be identified and the commodities included are determined by the EPA and take into account “types and amounts of food...

An article by James Taylor in Environment News on January 1, 2006, concerning anti-pesticide regulations, notes ACSH's suit against the EPA and quotes Dr. Gilbert Ross:

Ironically, the Washington proposal followed a call by the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) for the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to eliminate "junk science" from the processes by which it determines whether a particular chemical is harmful to humans.

According to an ACSH news release, "EPA routinely declares chemicals 'carcinogens' -- implying a likelihood of a health threat to humans -- based solely on the creation of tumors in lab rodents by...