November 23, 2008
Stone Cold Soup
What do you get when you combine a bunch of common "acceptable" pesticides: certain death.
Thats the result of a study that offers the "first illustration of how a large mixture of pesticides can adversely impact the environment".
I've often wondered about chemical combinations and if they've been studied appropriately. What effect has the chemical soup? I wasn't surprised then to find this new research out of the University of Pittsburgh showing that when 10 of the most commonly used EPA approved pesticides are mixed together they can wipe out (99%) of the amphibian population.
Pesticides are toxically complex chemicals and synthesize or metabolize into other chemicals after application in the soil, or uptake into organisms. The common pesticide Cyromazine, used on leafy greens, for example metabolizes into Melamine among other things. The USDA has apparently axed pesticide testing of fruits, vegetables and field crops as of September of this year citing the 8 million budget as too expensive. The EPA used the data that these tests revealed to set limits on pesticide use.
I'm not clear if and how Canada's testing regime is monitoring our own food for chemical residues - there are a lot of agency hands in the pie, but with deep integration in full gear, I'd wager more of the same. In the 15 + years I've been farming no one has ever required my produce to be tested for chemicals, nor do I know of any collegues organic or otherwise, wholesalers or smallscale. The powers that be are becoming increasingly heavy-handed though with small-scale producers in regard to regulations for food-safety which has come to mean antibacterial control while they deregulate the agricultural chemical industry.