Pesticides can pose a great risk to you and your family. Not using pesticides can cause great risk to your crops. What is it that you can do to make the right choice for you and your family? First off, we have to look at what a pesticide is.
Pesticide - a chemical preparation for destroying plant, fungal, or animal pests. Defined from www.dictionary.com
Chemicals that kill their intended targets. Okay well that seems kind of good right? Well yes and no. Pesticides really do not just affect the target. If an insect dies from a pesticide, and an animal comes across and eats that insect, that animal is now at risk. Also if you kill of a food source for other insects or animals, you are disrupting the ecosystem and the food chain: this is a slippery slope.
Did you know that some pesticides can cause nervous system problems? Some Pesticides are even carcinogens, such as DDT. The stuff that was sprayed for Mosquitos during the 1960′s. The Huffington Post wrote an article that talks about Breast Cancer and a study that links DDT to have caused breast Cancer(read it here). While DDT has been banned since 1972. There are other pesticides to be concerned about. Pesticides have also been linked to all of the odd bird deaths in the past few years. The pesticides are even EPA approved. Check out this article. The book Silent Spring, published several decades ago by Rachel Carson revealed the toxicity of pesticides and their improper use. To get more informed, pick up a copy of her book at your local library.
The EPA has posted this. “A low-level of exposure to a very toxic pesticide may be no more dangerous than a high level of exposure to a relatively low toxicity pesticide” “The health effects of pesticides depend on the type of pesticide. Some, such as the organophosphates and carbamates, affect the nervous system. Others may irritate the skin or eyes. Some pesticides may be carcinogens. Others may affect the hormone or endocrine system in the body.”
Chemicals build up in the body over time with exposure. When chemicals from pesticides build up to certain level, adverse reactions can occur. They say that the lower on the food chain that you go, the healthier you will be. This can be true unless the top of the food chain has added unnatural things to the bottom. All of these chemicals travel up the food chain too. If a farmer puts harmful pesticides on corn, and soy beans that are fed to cows, they go up. The people who eat those cows will be adding levels of pesticides to their body. Then if those cows were eating grain that was mixed with cow bone and meat meals, those cows have an even higher concentrated level of the pesticides. This really makes me think about what I am putting in my body.
It is very important to remember, if you put this on your crops, you are putting this into your body. Worse is that you are putting this into your family’s bodies. While you can wash much of the pesticides off the surface of the vegetable, pesticides have still seeped inside in most cases. If you feel that you must use chemical pesticides, make sure that wash and scrub your vegetables and fruits before you eat them. Also let those who you give your fruits and veggies to know that you have used pesticides on the food. So what is person supposed to do instead of using pesticides? You do not want to lose all of your crops to insects, after all.
What to do instead of using harmful chemical pesticides
There are many natural ways to do this. If you are having trouble with snakes and rodents, look for a way to draw in their natural predators. Also if you inspect your crops daily, you can kill the bugs that you find. Look for any nests or grouping of pests, and remove them as you see them. You can also plant crops that draw in beneficial insects to hunt down the harmful ones. Make sure you check your area for invasive species before you call them in.
Crop rotations are always a big thing to remember. Keeping the same crop year after year calls pests that feed on that crop to say in the area. If you rotate your crops responsibly you can greatly reduce the pests that you receive. Mixed plantings (squash, corn, and green beans all in one garden!) also limit the number of suitable habitats for specific insects. Raised beds , or barriers can also help keep out pests such as slugs, and possibly rabbits.
Lastly there are organic pesticides. For example, Growers Trust makes a pesticide that is basically Rosemary, and Citronella Oil. There are many natural pesticides and repellents that will take a far lesser toll on your family’s health, while preserving your crops. There are many options out there. Make sure that you look around for them before jumping to other solutions.