GREENFIELD, MA – May 8, 2002 Preventative measures designed to protect the public health, such as fastening seat belts before driving or putting on helmets before bicycle riding, will soon be joined by a new watchword urging consumers to buy food that is “certified organic”, according to the Organic Trade Association, the group at the forefront of efforts leading to passage of the new US organic standards. The most stringent in the world, the organic standards are being implemented throughout the country on October 21.
“Buying products that are certified organic is an easy way for consumers to protect their families, friends and loved ones,” said Katherine DiMatteo, Executive Director, OTA. “It ensures that they get food and fiber products grown without toxic and persistent insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers.”
Prevention is the organic farmer’s primary strategy for disease, weed and insect control. By building healthy soils, organic farmers find that healthy plants are better able to resist disease and insects. This approach also helps them to protect and conserve water resources as they use no pesticides or other persistent chemicals that contaminate the water supply, and leech into the soil and air. A landmark study announced today by the Organic Materials Review Institute and Consumers Union confirms that organic foods have fewer pesticides.
Evidence is mounting that exposure to pollutants is dangerous and reducing exposure is paramount to public health. “Given the current evidence, organic agriculture is a logical solution that protects the public health,” said DiMatteo. “Every organic purchase is a vote at the cash register to protect the next generation and create a more sustainable environment.”
DiMatteo warned that many of the pesticides approved by the EPA for use in conventionally grown agriculture were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. A full range of ill effects, from headaches, fatigue and nausea to cancer and neurological disorders, are connected to pesticide exposure.
Exposing infants and children to these pesticides is of particular concern as their high metabolism and low body weight makes them especially vulnerable. “Organic agriculture minimizes children’s exposure to toxic and persistent pesticides in the foods they eat, the water they drink, the air they breathe and the soil in which they play,” said DiMatteo.
May 8, 2002
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