Readers Write: Does consuming a lifetime of chemicals have consequences?

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The safety and nutritional value of our food today is greatly compromised. 

Fruits and vegetables, for example, are by nature rich with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. 

The paradox is that most fruit and vegetable crops, if not organic, are bathed in pesticides, herbicides and fungicides — not meant for human consumption.

This is very pertinent in terms of children since they consume more produce relative to their size and weight than adults do. 

They are also particularly sensitive to neurotoxins — chemicals that can cause damage to the nervous system. 

When in the womb, an unborn child is especially vulnerable to any pesticide/herbicide that the mother is exposed to or consumes through food crops that have been sprayed.  

These toxic substances are also known to lower the IQ in children and adults as well. 

These chemicals actually alter our epigenetic blueprint that is passed onto the next generation.

Two chemical giants merged in 2018 when Bayer acquired Monsanto. 

Monsanto has been a world leader in agrochemicals, including genetically modified seeds for produce and other major food crops.  

Monsanto’s (now Bayer’s) glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world, and is the most used agricultural chemical in history. 

You may know it by its product name, Roundup.

While Monsanto maintains that glyphosate is safe (research on product safety is often funded and conducted by the corporations marketing the products), it has been added to California’s Proposition 65 list of substances that can cause cancer. 

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined it to be a probable carcinogen.  

Information has come out that Monsanto collaborated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to downplay the reports that glyphosate causes cancer. 

Money and corporations over life.    

There are literally thousands of legal cases filed against Monsanto related to Roundup.

This is just the beginning of this ever-growing list of lawsuits since more and more people are becoming aware of what is sprayed on our crops.

Dewayne Johnson, a public school groundskeeper in California, dying of stage 4 cancer due to exposure to Roundup, filed suit against Monsanto. 

A jury awarded him an historic verdict against the mammoth chemical giant.  Johnson was awarded over 289 million dollars. 

To bring this all home, about 80% of the chemical market is for agricultural use, but non-agricultural sales are skyrocketing simply by the rise of the middle-class still opting for chemically-reliant lawns and landscapes — driving up sales of weed killers. 

Long Islanders — are you using Roundup on your lawns?

These chemical products contain several very dangerous ingredients including “inerts” not listed on the label. 

The combination of these chemicals can be even more toxic than any one of them acting alone. 

Manufacturers are not required to divulge all the ingredients. 

So we are exposed to a cocktail of herbicides and pesticides in our air, water, of course our food, and on the surfaces we touch. 

How do we ultimately combat the ills our “progressive” world has set upon us? 

We must take a stand. 

How you spend your dollar is like a lightning rod and sends a loud message. 

Speak with your store managers, write or call the Produce Marketing Association and various food growers associations.

Tell them you don’t want to consume chemicals in any of your food.  

Ideally, if available and affordable, purchase certified organic fruits and vegetables, and other foods that are certified organic. 

These are grown, processed, packaged, stored and transported without the use of synthetic chemicals such as pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers.  

When not organic, try to buy produce that is locally grown. 

Food that travels very long distances usually is treated more heavily with post-harvest chemicals. 

Out-of-season produce is likely to be imported. 

Imported produce is picked way before its maturity and gets heavy doses of chemicals for purposes of ripening, maintaining longer shelf life, and preserving texture.

Tell store managers you demand more organic. 

Organic is without a doubt the best way to lower your overall pesticide/herbicide burden. 

When you can’t find organic, the best choice is to buy from local farmers and farmers’ markets around the Island. 

Herbicides, pesticides and GMOs contribute to the demise of the environment and human health.  Voice your concern and demand a toxic-free food supply. 

No to poison — yes to life.

Gary Feldman

Gary Feldman, an innovator in the nutritional supplement retail industry and a member of the Great Neck Board of Education Citizens Advisory Committee, is a health writer, a nutrition educator and lecturer, and an instructor in the Port Washington Union Free School District Continuing Education program. Email him at garyteach1@gmail.com

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