INSECTICIDES.txt 
N129 

INSECTICIDES

Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
 
A study by Consumer Reports shows that current pesticide levels in 
some fruits and vegetables exceed current government safety 
recommendations (March, 1999).

That doesn't mean that you should avoid fruits, vegetables, whole 
grains and beans because available data show that people who eat the 
most produce, which is the highest source of insecticides, are the 
ones least likely to suffer cancers and heart attacks. One-of-the 
most-respected cancer researchers, Bruce Ames, professor at the 
University of California, Berkeley claims that pesticides prevent 
cancer. 

Almost all the pesticides that we eat were placed in fruits and 
vegetables by nature, not man. Fewer than one percent of the 
pesticides are made by man in chemical factories. Most people who 
complain about man-made pesticides do not understand that most 
insecticides are copies of those found naturally in plants. When 
man-made pesticides are given for a very long time to animals, 50 
percent develop cancer. When similar doses of natural plant-made 
pesticides are given to animals, 50 percent also develop cancer. 
Even with the help of pesticides to preserve our crops, only nine 
percent of Americans eat the recommended minimum of five servings of 
fruits and vegetables per day. According to Dr. Bruce Ames, this 
lack of phytochemicals in produce accounts for at least a third of 
the cancers in industrialized nations. Life have been on earth for 
3.5 billion years, and a huge percentage of the plants that have 
been on earth have become extinct because insects, bacteria, 
viruses, fungi, man and animals have destroyed them. The minuscule 
number of plants that have survived contain insecticides to protect 
them from being destroyed. 

Insects multiply so fast and have such voracious appetites that they 
would destroy every food crop known to man if it were not for the 
natural insecticides produced by plants and the manufactured 
insecticides produced by man. Since people are concerned about the 
use of insecticides manufactured by man, researchers have developed 
almost exact copies of insecticides made by plants. For example, 
chrysanthemums produce pyrethrins that protect them from many 
insects. Manufacturers make copies of plant pyrethrins that have 
never been shown to be more toxic than those from the plant. Since 
some concerned groups oppose man-made copies of plant insecticides, 
scientists have gone one step further. They have taught plants how 
to make their own new insecticides. For example, a bacterium called 
bacillus thuringiensis makes an insecticide that kills the Colorado 
potato beetle that devastates potato crops. Scientists have 
genetically engineered potatoes to make exactly the same chemical 
that is made by the bacteria. So Colorado potato beetles die when 
they eat these potatoes. Man-made insecticides that are copies of 
plant-made insecticides have not been shown to be more toxic than 
plant-made insecticides, and plants that are genetically engineered 
to make large amounts of insecticides have not been shown to be 
either safer or more toxic than regular plants. 

The March, 1999 issue of Consumer Reports shows that processed foods
have less pesticides than fresh ones, but research shows that people 
who eat the most fresh produce have the least cancers and heart 
attacks. DDT that was banned 20 year ago is still found in our food 
supply because it does not break down and remains in the soil for 
years. Domestic produce has more insecticides than foreign ones, in 
spite of the fact that the United States Department of Agriculture 
has set legal limits and the foreign countries have not. Many 
foreign farmers cannot afford the insecticides, so they don't use 
them. Methyl parathion, a potent nerve poison, is still found in 
produce, particularly green beans, even though far safer 
insecticides are available.

Checked 5/3/07