It's happened again. A staple of literally billions of people all around the world, has been placed on the list of foods that terrify us.
Rice, one of my favorite things to eat, has been found to contain dangerous levels of arsenic. There go my red beans and rice for lunch!
Trader Joe's has just pulled peanut butter off it's shelves, salmonella has been discovered and customers throughout the U.S. have fallen ill from eating it. We had another tainted cantaloupe scare just weeks ago.
What's going on? It's enough to make a person begin to can their own food again.
But if you're inexperienced at canning, you can screw it up and give everyone botulism. Kidding aside, it's alarming to think of the compromised safety of our food supply.
Arsenic in rice isn't really that surprising when you understand that we have contaminated our soils with pesticides and herbicides since the end of World War 11. The residues of these pesticides contain not only arsenic, but heavy metals and organophosphates.
The residues left behind by the profligate use of the very pesticides we thought were a boon have turned into a nightmare.
There is no doubt that the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides served a purpose, giving Americans huge, unblemished crop yields to feed the booming population after World War 11.
However, nobody thought about the consequences, poisoned soil, dead birds and beautiful but tainted foods. One might think that common sense would dictate that if you make a product out of nerve gas, it might have a deleterious effect on you.
But common sense seems to be in very short supply when profit is involved. Even now, when we have irrefutable proof that pesticides are poison to the environment and to the inhabitants of Earth, we go on using them. This is the worst kind of folly, the very defintion of insanity.
It's not enough that our soil is mineral depleted, now it's tainted with poisons we have deliberately placed there. For the backyard gardener, the solution is a simple one: Don't use pesticides on your property ! There are so many great ways of pest control that are natural it's silly to do anything else.
A wonderful man named Jerry Brown (not the governor of California) has dedicated his entire life to clean gardening and he has written many books about keeping your property free of pesticides. When I was avidly gardening, those books were my Bible.
Get your hands on them, he not only gives you ways to stimulate and grow things without poisons, he also tells you how to de-contaminate your soil. Back in the '90's, I preached the gospel of clean gardening to everyone I knew and lectured on pesticides at garden clubs. I told people that things like tainted fruits and vegetables were on the way if we kept on using these terrible substances. One of the most shocking things I learned was that many farmers use potato crops to clear the soil of pesticides.
Pesticides kill beneficial insects as well as pests. Honeybees are dying in a disorder called "Colony Collapse".
Entymologists are studying a virus, but how about all the bees you kill when you spray your poisons on those roses? The bees don't die right away and take the poisons back to the hive. No bees? No life on Earth. Please think of what you're eating and what it's doing to you, and to your kids and pets.
The rates of cancers in dogs has risen alarmingly since the widespread use of chemical lawn treatments. When I was a kid, you never heard of dogs with cancer. You never heard of the exotic disorder called "environmental allergies". Now, oncology for dogs is a cottage industry.
And more and more of us are suffering from weird allergies to almost everything. Every time I see those little pirate flags on a lawn warning everyone to keep off for 24 hours, I wonder what the homeowner is thinking. Is a truly green lawn that important? Where does all this stuff go after 24 hours?
Right into the aquifer under our Island. So if you don't filter your water, guess what you're drinking and bathing in? Watering your gardens and filling your pools and letting your kids run around in? If you have ponds or pools and you fear West Nile Virus, use Mosquito Dunks every month.
These donut shaped mosquito killers are deadly to the larvae of mosquitos, but harmless to everything else. Just last week, a "Big Box" store on Long Island was fined by the state for selling two kinds of banned pesticides.
How many people bought and used those products without knowing they were banned? How many are now eating the harvest of fruits and vegetables they sprinkled with these poisons?
Fifty years ago, the late Rachel Carson was one of the first to sound the alarm about DDT and other pesticides in her book "The Silent Spring". I urge you to get a copy and read it through.
DDT may be banned, but it's great- grandchildren are just as deadly. Please go poison free so we all can lead healthy lives eating clean foods.
Dr. Kleine regrets she cannot give advice by phone or e-mail. For an appointment call 631.472.8139 or e-mail us at Drfootsi@myway.com