I’ve been a farmworker all my life. Here’s why you should buy organic food

The Sacramento Bee – BY RUDY ARREDONDO – Mar 10, 2019

Consumers who choose organic food to protect themselves and their families from pesticide exposure also help to create a safer and healthier food system for everyone, from farm to table. by Rudy Arredondo – President – National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association

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Like millions of farmworkers who have labored in America’s fields and orchards, I know what it’s like to grow the food we eat using toxic pesticides. At 12, I worked as a “flag man,” waving in crop-dusting planes that would swoop down close to the plants — and us workers — to blast out a foggy spray of toxins that killed every bug in sight.

Along with the bugs, we were also sprayed.

Nobody told me these clouds of pesticides were dangerous, so I didn’t even wear a handkerchief over my face. My father almost died one time when a hose broke and exposed him to toxic fumes while he was applying ammonia treatments on a farm.

Many thousands of farmworkers, and some farmers, have been hospitalized and developed chronic, life-threatening illnesses from the chemicals we use to grow our food.

Like millions of farmworkers who have labored in America’s fields and orchards, I know what it’s like to grow the food we eat using toxic pesticides. At 12, I worked as a “flag man,” waving in crop-dusting planes that would swoop down close to the plants — and us workers — to blast out a foggy spray of toxins that killed every bug in sight.

Along with the bugs, we were also sprayed.

Nobody told me these clouds of pesticides were dangerous, so I didn’t even wear a handkerchief over my face. My father almost died one time when a hose broke and exposed him to toxic fumes while he was applying ammonia treatments on a farm.

Many thousands of farmworkers, and some farmers, have been hospitalized and developed chronic, life-threatening illnesses from the chemicals we use to grow our food.

OPINION

Consumers who choose organic food to protect themselves and their families from pesticide exposure also help to create a safer and healthier food system for everyone, from farm to table.

new peer-reviewed study shows how much of an impact eating organic food can have on the body. Following four diverse American families before and after they went on an all-organic diet, researchers found that the levels of pesticides in people’s bodies decreased dramatically after just one week of consuming organic foods and beverages.

After an all-organic week, levels of all detected chemicals dropped an average of 60.5 percent with a range of 37 percent to 95 percent depending on the compound, according to the study, published in the journal Environmental Research.

In the families they studied, levels of chlorpyrifos, a widely used and highly toxic pesticide, fell by 61 percent in one week. Government scientists have recommended banning chlorpyrifos because of its links to increased rates of autism, learning disabilities and reduced IQ in children. Research shows that these risks are highest for the children of farmworkers and for children who are born and raised near fields where chlorpyrifos is sprayed.

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