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HuckleB

(35,773 posts)
Thu Apr 28, 2016, 11:57 AM Apr 2016

Organic Pesticides. Yes, They Do Exist, And Are Used.

http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/organic-pesticides/

"...

Of course, there is no discussion about the absolute level of the pesticides, and the fact that such levels are insignificant and pose no known risk. But there is a deeper deception in this video and many studies looking at the difference in pesticide exposure between conventional and organic produce. They are only testing for pesticides not used by organic farmers. They are not testing for pesticides that are used in organic farming.

The game, therefore, is completely rigged, and the outcome is assured. If they tested only for organic pesticides the results would be flipped.

...

The fact is that the use of pesticides are allowed in organic farming, mostly derived from natural sources but also some synthetic chemical deemed “essential.” There is no apriori reason to assume that chemical pesticides derived from natural sources are safer or better for the environment that synthetic ones.

...

I am also not arguing for the overuse or simplistic use of pesticides as an easy solution. The consensus seems to be for integrated pest management. There are also some techniques favored by organic farmers which can help reduce reliance on pesticides. Whatever works is good, but we should follow the evidence, not ideology."


----------------------------------------------------

Just a little perspective.

30 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Organic Pesticides. Yes, They Do Exist, And Are Used. (Original Post) HuckleB Apr 2016 OP
I recall reading that there's a bit of a turf war. Wilms Apr 2016 #1
That argument, of course, points out the reality that "organic" is just a marketing term. HuckleB Apr 2016 #2
The small farmers, you, and I agree. Wilms Apr 2016 #6
Regardless, it's always been just a marketing term. HuckleB Apr 2016 #8
Also conventional produce gets exported and magically imported back as "organic." yellowcanine Apr 2016 #4
Eek! Wilms Apr 2016 #7
Scams may beget scams. HuckleB Apr 2016 #16
Nicotine is very toxic to humans. Rotenone is somewhat toxic. yellowcanine Apr 2016 #3
Luckily, rotenone is not really used any more. HuckleB Apr 2016 #5
Nicotine has been banned for at least 14 years appal_jack Apr 2016 #18
All I can tell you is that there are many warnings about Neem and pregnancy yellowcanine Apr 2016 #19
All true points. appal_jack Apr 2016 #20
The persistence of synthetic pesticides is correct. The flip side of that is that organic yellowcanine Apr 2016 #21
There is also the issue of fuel use and pollution for each added application of organic products. HuckleB Apr 2016 #24
Just yesterday I saw the only real difference, between "organic" and others. Archae Apr 2016 #9
Corporate marketing, at its ugliest. HuckleB Apr 2016 #10
Like to get me some of that GMO chicken.... yellowcanine Apr 2016 #14
It's CRISPR! HuckleB Apr 2016 #15
Pyrethroids are derivatives of the chrysanthemum Drahthaardogs Apr 2016 #11
All good and well, the LD50 is still not better than for things like glyphosate or Imidacloprid. HuckleB Apr 2016 #12
Pyrethroids are synthetic pyrethrins. yellowcanine Apr 2016 #13
Most synthetic pesticides are derived from naturally occurring ones Major Nikon Apr 2016 #22
. HuckleB Apr 2016 #17
Save the Bees! Ban these two toxic organic pesticides immediately HuckleB Apr 2016 #23
Natural versus Synthetic Chemicals Is a Gray Matter HuckleB Apr 2016 #25
It's a marketing gimmick based on an appeal to nature fallacy Major Nikon Apr 2016 #28
Alas, you are correct on all accounts. -eom- HuckleB Apr 2016 #30
The term "organic pesticides" will confuse the hell out of everybody struggle4progress Apr 2016 #26
All true, but in this era it's well understood via the mass marketing of "organic" food. HuckleB Apr 2016 #27
Two different definitions Major Nikon Apr 2016 #29
 

Wilms

(26,795 posts)
1. I recall reading that there's a bit of a turf war.
Thu Apr 28, 2016, 12:04 PM
Apr 2016

Big Ag Organic would like looser restriction on the use of the term, "organic", than do the smaller organic farmers.

Perhaps this is a result of that.

It also reminds me of water testing at an institution I worked at years ago. The health dept. wanted us to check daily that enough chlorine was in the system. That's all. Later, they added doing a test once a year to see if there was anything in the water to be concerned about. That made sense to me.

HuckleB

(35,773 posts)
2. That argument, of course, points out the reality that "organic" is just a marketing term.
Thu Apr 28, 2016, 12:09 PM
Apr 2016

Various producers may argue about the requirements to "earn" the label, but those requirements have never been about better farming practices. It's about corporate marketing. One company against another.

Test for everything, but also begin to educate people about what the results actually mean.

 

Wilms

(26,795 posts)
6. The small farmers, you, and I agree.
Thu Apr 28, 2016, 12:49 PM
Apr 2016

BIG Farm co-opted the term. Just like the DLC morphed into "The progressive Policy Institute, or somesuch.

HuckleB

(35,773 posts)
8. Regardless, it's always been just a marketing term.
Thu Apr 28, 2016, 12:50 PM
Apr 2016

Another way to convince people to pay more for a product, at least since Rodale decided to make millions promoting it.

yellowcanine

(35,692 posts)
3. Nicotine is very toxic to humans. Rotenone is somewhat toxic.
Thu Apr 28, 2016, 12:12 PM
Apr 2016

And pregnant women should avoid exposure to neem.

These are all "natural" pesticides and thus thought by many to be safer than "chemical" pesticides.

 

appal_jack

(3,813 posts)
18. Nicotine has been banned for at least 14 years
Fri Apr 29, 2016, 01:05 AM
Apr 2016

Nicotine has been banned for at least 14 years in organic farming.

There has been no commercial formulation of rotenone sold in the agricultural market for at least a decade.

While pregnant women might not want to wash daily with a neem soap, do you really have any evidence of problems arising from eating neem-sprayed vegetables?

-app

yellowcanine

(35,692 posts)
19. All I can tell you is that there are many warnings about Neem and pregnancy
Fri Apr 29, 2016, 09:34 AM
Apr 2016
http://gerd.emedtv.com/neem/neem-and-pregnancy.html http://www.discoverneem.com/neem-safety-and-side-effects.html
As I understand it, the problem isn't neem-sprayed vegetables for the consumer, it is the Ag worker applying neem to the vegetables.

As to nicotine and rotenone - my point was regarding the safety of what is "natural" vs. "chemical." Gigantic misunderstanding out there.

Also Rotenone, while not used in the U.S. in agriculture (because of EPA labeling), can be and still is used in other countries while meeting organic certification standards for produce imported into the U.S. In other words, it is okay to jeopardize the health of Ag workers and the environment in other countries, but you can't do it in the U.S. Just one more example of why "certified organic" is not necessarily the same as "sustainable."
 

appal_jack

(3,813 posts)
20. All true points.
Fri Apr 29, 2016, 09:49 AM
Apr 2016

Farm worker safety is important stuff, on any farm, organic or conventional.

At the small market garden I raise, I don't hire out any work. But even if I did, I'd keep the (very rare) spraying of organic pesticides as work I did myself. And even if I grew beyond that point some day, I would never ask a woman who might be pregnant to spray anything at all.

Your point about the immediate toxicity of certain natural compounds (rotenone and nicotine definitely included) is well-taken. The one difference that seems to hold up though is that synthetic chemicals have a much higher likelihood of persistence, bioaccumulation, and long-term effects on non-target organisms in even trace amounts.

-app

yellowcanine

(35,692 posts)
21. The persistence of synthetic pesticides is correct. The flip side of that is that organic
Fri Apr 29, 2016, 10:02 AM
Apr 2016

pesticides must be applied more frequently to get the same level of protection. This is one thing which drives up cost. And of course every application carries the potential of exposure for farm workers.

I mentioned neem because I have worked in Africa and observed that much of the farm work, particularly pest management, is done by women. OTOH a big advantage of things like pyrethrin and neem is that the farmers can grow their own insecticides. Commercial pesticides are out of reach or unavailable for many farmers in places such as Mozambique.

HuckleB

(35,773 posts)
24. There is also the issue of fuel use and pollution for each added application of organic products.
Fri Apr 29, 2016, 11:49 AM
Apr 2016

The equations go on and on...

Archae

(46,291 posts)
9. Just yesterday I saw the only real difference, between "organic" and others.
Thu Apr 28, 2016, 01:28 PM
Apr 2016

Chicken breasts.

They were identical, except one brand bragged about being "hormone" free, "GMO free," etc. while the other was a store brand.

Guess which brand was $2 per package higher in price?
Three guesses, and the first seven don't count.

Major Nikon

(36,817 posts)
22. Most synthetic pesticides are derived from naturally occurring ones
Fri Apr 29, 2016, 10:13 AM
Apr 2016

Most plants have varying degrees of naturally occurring pesticides, some of which are highly toxic to humans.

The idea that one can exist "pesticide free" is ridiculous. Most of anyone's pesticide load comes from the plants themselves.

HuckleB

(35,773 posts)
23. Save the Bees! Ban these two toxic organic pesticides immediately
Fri Apr 29, 2016, 11:47 AM
Apr 2016
http://risk-monger.blogactiv.eu/2015/06/17/save-the-bees-ban-these-two-toxic-pesticides-immediately/

"...

Now the problem is that last week the European Commission concluded that azadirachtin, commonly used by organic farmers in Europe, is seriously fatal to bumblebees even at “concentrations 50 times lower” than the recommended levels for organic farmers. The study showed that only 30% of the bumblebees survived exposure at any dose level of azadirachtin. Azadirachtin may be natural and promoted for organic farming but it is deadly to bees (although perhaps in an organic way).

Why then do organic farming organisations think that using these toxins are OK? See a recent article that assures organic gardeners that azadirachtin (as neem oil) is safe, non-toxic and has no effect on bees. The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) has been lobbying the European Commission to keep azadirachtin on the market (with less stringent data requirements) because there are no other alternatives for organic fruit production. Uhm, how about safe, well-tested synthetic pesticides that do not wipe out bee populations?

I have written elsewhere how the organic industry lobby does not hesitate to use unethical practices to gain market share and public support. But if you are blinded by the belief that natural is always good, then you don’t see it as lying, you don’t see the negative consequences of your toxic pesticides and you don’t see the contradictions of your lobbying. You are just blind … and very vocal. But isn’t it sweet that the UK Soil Association has been caught supporting the bumblebee exterminator while they are one of the leading voices demanding a permanent ban on neonicotinoids “to save the bees”! Now the Soil Association say they need to retrain their staff … understatement of the year! I hope they train them to not be so blinded as to think natural toxins are better than scientific toxins.

And what do our jokesters at Pesticide Action Network have to say about azadirachtin? PAN recommends this organic bee-killer as an alternative to several neonicotinoids. So a toxic chemical used in organic farming that wipes 70% of bumblebees out at concentrations 50 times lower than the recommended organic farming levels is considered as a safer alternative than well-tested neonicotinoids. This type of lobbying should be criminalised (but large-scale bee deaths don’t count for much in a court of law).

..."

Major Nikon

(36,817 posts)
28. It's a marketing gimmick based on an appeal to nature fallacy
Fri Apr 29, 2016, 02:03 PM
Apr 2016

Obviously there's no shortage of people who fall for it.

The National Organic Program (NOP) is a regulatory program housed within the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. We are responsible for developing national standards for organically-produced agricultural products. These standards assure consumers that products with the USDA organic seal meet consistent, uniform standards. Our regulations do not address food safety or nutrition.

http://www.ams.usda.gov/about-ams/programs-offices/national-organic-program

struggle4progress

(118,196 posts)
26. The term "organic pesticides" will confuse the hell out of everybody
Fri Apr 29, 2016, 12:27 PM
Apr 2016

The adjective "organic" has a long history in chemistry, being used as a technical word: "Organic chemistry" (for example) simply refers to the chemistry of carbon compounds

So an "organic pesticide" will be understood by many people to mean a pesticide that has a carbon skeleton -- as opposed to a pesticide (such as arsenic trioxide or thallium sulfate) which is not carbon-based

Major Nikon

(36,817 posts)
29. Two different definitions
Fri Apr 29, 2016, 02:09 PM
Apr 2016

In this case the intended implication is "naturally occurring" vs synthetic, but this literally false as several synthetic products are approved under the National Organic Program.

So in no sense of the word does "organic" actually mean organic.

§205.601 Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production

§205.603 Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic livestock production

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