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.
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.
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.
BIG Farm co-opted the term. Just like the DLC morphed into "The progressive Policy Institute, or somesuch.
Another way to convince people to pay more for a product, at least since Rodale decided to make millions promoting it.
And pregnant women should avoid exposure to neem.
These are all "natural" pesticides and thus thought by many to be safer than "chemical" pesticides.
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?
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."
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.
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.
The equations go on and on...
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.
And pyrethrins not particularly good for bees.
Pyrethrins are derived from chrysanthemums, pyrethroids are made in a lab.
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.
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 dont see it as lying, you dont see the negative consequences of your toxic pesticides and you dont see the contradictions of your lobbying. You are just blind and very vocal. But isnt 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 dont count for much in a court of law).
A very good piece on the issue.
Obviously there's no shortage of people who fall for it.
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
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