Chemicals are everywhere! Farmers spray their crops with pesticides, fungicides, weed killers -- and some of that residue still lingers on the food when we eat it. fear of those pesticides has helped Organic food become a big business, because organic food is supposed to be "clean" and free of pesticides. The Organic Trade Association says the organic industry made $25 billion in 2009 sales, 5.1% growth over the year before.
I think their customers are suckers. The chemicals residues on cheaper, conventional food are microscopic -- far below levels found to cause harm. On tonight's show (FBN @ 9pm ET), I'll talk to Alex Avery of the Hudson Institute and Jay Feldman of Beyond Pesticides.
Of course, if people want to buy organic food because pesticides creep them out, or they think organics taste better, they're welcome to pay the higher prices.
But they don’t stop there. Environmentalists want the government to ban chemicals, like the weed killer atrazine. Atrazine has been in widespread use for decades. More than 6,000 studies have been done on its safety. In 2006, the EPA completed a safety review on atrazine and found levels of atrazine "that Americans are exposed to in their food and drinking water ... are below the level that would potentially cause health effects." Still, environmentalists (Should I even call them that? They employ more lawyers than scientists) at the National Resources Defense Council demand that atrazine be banned, and the Obama Administration has launched yet another expensive safety review.
There’s a reason farmers use these chemicals. They are incredibly beneficial. An EPA study found that atrazine boosts yields by 6 percent or more, saving corn farmers as much as $28 per acre -- more than $2 billion in direct benefit. It also makes "No-Till" farming possible, which reduces soil erosion and keeps huge amounts of carbon dioxide trapped in the ground (something I thought environmentalists were supposed to care about).
Chemicals are good. Chemophobia is bad.