A Chemical Reaction to the White House Garden

michelle_obama_garden1Last week, I wrote about Michelle Obama’s edible, organic garden planted on 1100 square feet of White House Lawn earlier this month.

It turns out not everyone was as excited as me.

Take the Mid America CropLife Association (MACA), for instance…this group represents agribusinesses like Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences and DuPont Crop Protection, and they’ve got a bone to pick.

In a letter they wrote to Michelle Obama, brought to the public attention via La Vida Locavore (where you can read the letter in its entirety), MACA expressed concern that the decision to grow an organic garden would give consumers the wrong impression about conventionally grown food – and by that I’m assuming that they mean letting the public at large know that food can actually be grown without using chemicals (imagine that!)….

The letter states…

“We live in a very different world than that of our grandparents. Americans are juggling jobs with the needs of children and aging parents. The time needed to tend a garden is not there for the majority of our citizens, certainly not a garden of sufficient productivity to supply much of a family’s year-round food needs.”

Which begs the question: are we really considering children and aging parents who have underdeveloped or compromised immune systems, when we spray our yards, and gardens with poisonous pesticides? Children and pets roll around and play on the lawn and in the dirt. If we are spraying our lawns, and gardens with pesticides we are exposing them to toxic chemicals that can compromise the human body.

The Danger of Exposure
We absorb chemicals and toxins three ways:

  1. Swallowing – ingesting them via our food.
  2. Breathing – via inhalation of air.
  3. Skin and or eye contact – i.e. absorption of your personal care products.

So when you spray pesticides in and around your yard and home, keep in mind that you, your family and pets can absorb its chemicals via all three of these passage ways.

The New England Journal of Medicine, published a study in July of 2000, that states we are more likely to get cancer from pesticide exposure than from hereditary causes.

Studies have also shown that pesticides and toxic chemicals can be up to 10 times more poisonous to child’s underdeveloped immune system.

Clearly, I don’t think that a ‘busy’ lifestyle if enough of an excuse to use pesticides – ever.

What are your thoughts on the MACA letter – and about pesticide exposure overall? I’d love to hear from you!


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  • mary  April 24, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    I just found your site, and am so glad I did! I’m grateful to see thsi particular post, since I’m alwasy trying to get people to be aware of what they are putting on/in their bodies!!! keep it up!! I’m a fan and will be following you, and linking to you when I have time to do so!!

  • Laura  April 27, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Thanks for your comment Mary. We are thrilled to get your feedback!

  • Veggie Master  April 27, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Now that we know all we do about the effects of chemicals on humans and our world in general, there’s no excuse for not gardening organically. Getting the word out to all the first-time veggie gardeners is so important! We’ve started a garden information website for just that purpose. Take a look at http://www.GreatGardenInfo.com. Happy gardening!

  • diana  April 28, 2009 at 1:06 am

    i must say i am experiencing a feeling of rising anger at the boldness and stupidity of those mass producers of chemically sprayed food.yet at the same time i am not at all surprised.
    ofcourse they fear for their profits.
    but let them fear !!
    maybe fear will make them reconsider their future plans for their future profits.
    and i am soo content with michelle obama’s initiative. way to go, sister !

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  • sudee_78  July 11, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Its Really a Serious Issue. Pesticides are Really a Poison which has become a Part of our Life as Farm Products… However Its Too Much to Use Pesticides in Home Garden. We must Avoid Such Practice of using pesticides nearby our home and kids.

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