Environmentalism for the 21st Century

The Invisible Poisons

Beginning with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s scare tactics about the use of the pesticide Alar on apples, the environmental movement has been very clever at inventing campaigns that make us afraid of our food. They conjure up invisible poisons that will give us cancer, birth defects, mutations, and otherwise kill us in our sleep. We will all soon be reduced to an hermaphroditic frenzy by endocrine mimicking compounds as we approach the Toxic Saturation Point.

Meanwhile, the National Cancer Institute of Canada conducted a joint study with U.S. counterparts beginning in 1994 to investigate the possible relationship between pesticide residues in food and cancer in humans. The findings published in the peer-reviewed journal “Cancer” in 1997, concluded that it could not find “any definitive evidence to suggest that synthetic pesticides contribute significantly to overall cancer mortality”, a careful way of saying they found zero connection. And yet, the article pointed out, over 30 percent of cancers in humans are caused by tobacco, a natural substance. And another 35 percent are caused by poor diet, mainly too much fat and cholesterol and not enough fresh fruit and vegetables. The main effect of the environmental campaign against pesticides is to scare parents into avoiding fresh fruit and vegetables for themselves and their children.

The same kind of scare tactics are now being employed in the campaign against biotechnology and genetically modified foods. Even though there is no evidence of negative human health effects and environmental concerns are blown completely out of proportion, great fear has been whipped up in the public. Large corporations are in retreat and governments are scrambling to get control of the issue. Unfortunately, some biotechnology companies and associations continue to belittle public concerns and resist disclosure of food ingredients. There is no escaping the fact that this is a new technology and that it must be introduced carefully and sometimes slowly. And public concerns, even when unfounded, must be taken seriously.

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