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But there's no debate about the effects of pesticide exposure upon the 1 to 2 million migrant farm workers who harvest America's fruits and vegetables by hand. They have been carefully designed to kill insects, weeds, funguses, and rodents. The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that every year, 10,000 to 20,000 farm workers suffer acute pesticide poisoning on the job -- and that's a conservative estimate.For them, the need for organic food isn't an academic issue. Farm workers, their children, and the rural communities where they live are routinely exposed to these toxic chemicals.
It's better for the human beings who work the land.
There is some scientific debate about the health effects of pesticide residues, at minute levels, in food.
The industrial model has caused enormous damage, in a remarkably brief period of time, and we have no choice but to seek a better one.
We have no choice but to help those who are being sickened, impoverished, and abused.
Access to good, healthy food shouldn't be reserved for a privileged few. And the changes being made at the community level need to be translated into changes at the state and federal level.
At the moment, the law too often favors corporate interests over the public interest.
And what are the potential, long-term harms of the pesticides now being sprayed on our crops?
Brain damage, lung damage, cancers of the breast, colon, lung, pancreas, and kidney, birth defects, sterility, and other ailments. It is the poor and working people in the United States who need a new, sustainable food system more than anyone else. They are exposed to the worst chemicals on the job.
Because a food system based on poverty and exploitation will never be sustainable.
The founders of the organic movement understood that the health of people, livestock, and the land cannot be separated from one another -- they're indivisible.