Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 62

CHILDREN, PESTICIDES, AND FOOD - Kolmes Man 9: The problem they’ve had in Canada with the Atlantic salmon was that those escaped ones tend to run pacific salmon out and cause them to go extinct in those streams. And that’s one of the reasons there are no limits on Atlantic salmon caught. SK: In fact, Alaska paid a bounty on them. There are Atlantic salmon showing up in every river on Vancouver Island. And the Canadians aren’t paying a bounty. But if you went up to Alaska and brought in an Atlantic salmon, they paid you because the Atlantic salmon are competing with the native species. That’s a really serious issue. A more frightening issue is that the FDA is in the process of licensing genetically modified Atlantic salmon that grow twice as fast as wild fish. If those things escaped, they would outcompete everything. Here are some things you can do. Some of you are students. You’re on student budgets. Not all foods are likely to have pesticides on them. One resource is the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” lists. There are some foods that are far more likely to have pesticides on them, so those are the ones you should buy organic. For the sake of the farmworkers, you should buy everything organic if you have buckets of money. But students don’t normally have buckets of money. The Environmental Working Group website9 shows the list of the “Dirty Dozen”—these are the foods most frequently contaminated with pesticides. Remember I said that it’s the foods children love that tend to be the most pesticide-laden? They are apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, and so on. These are the most contaminated foods. There is also a list of the “Clean Fifteen”—foods that are least often found to contain pesticide residues.10 So, avocados; for the sake of the people who work in the field, buy organic. But if you don’t have a lot of money, don’t waste your money buying organic avocados. Use it on apples. This is a tool that is useful. If you go to this Environmental Working Group website and click “full list,” there is a much more extensive list of foods ordered from top to bottom—the lowest number is most heavily pesticide exposed. The highest number is least pesticide exposed. So this is actually a very useful tool for looking at things you can practically do to protect yourself or your children. And if you are a pre-reproductive woman, there’s no difference from 9. Environmental Working Group, “Dirty Dozen,” accessed February 2, 2016, http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php. 10. Environmental Working Group, “Clean Fifteen,” accessed February 2, 2016, http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/clean_fifteen_list.php. 59