To the editor:
Re: "Local veggies preferable to 'organics' from afar," Letters, April 27.
From his byline(Prof. Scott Lear, Department of Health Sciences, SFU) I'm assuming Mr. Lear is wanting to lend an air of authority on this subject, an expertise that he may not, in fact, possess. He writes that there is "... no evidence to indicate that foods grown in a non-organic way are at all detrimental to one's health."
Saying there's "no evidence" is not the same thing as saying detriments do not exist. It may mean that no one's conducted an officially recognized study to prove or disprove the assertion. Personally, I think the assertion is false.
The pollution produced by conventional farming methods ends up in the water and air, to be consumed by farmers, their workers, and neighboring humans and other animals. Since water constitutes a large part of plant and animal content, it seems ridiculous to suggest there's no detriment to pesticides consumed either directly or indirectly-from conventionally grown produce, not to mention the pesticide "enhanced" oxygen in the air we breathe.
Mr. Lear goes on to tout the miraculous strides made by pesticide use, includ-ing lessening of hunger in the developed world, and lengthening of life. There's no proof that life has been lengthened due to the use of agricultural chemicals. People may be living longer because of medical advancements that allow people to live longer with serious diseases such as cancer. What about the lives that never start due to infertility?
Regarding the "lack of a reasonable standard" and the term "organic," there are standards for an organic certification, set by regulatory bodies. (Was there no research done for Ms. Hughes's column or Mr. Lear's response?) The term "Certified Organic" minimally refers specifically to food grown:
a) without use of pesticides, on
b) soil that is pesticide-free, and
c) that soil was pesticide-free for a specified number of consecutive years prior (i.e. after that time, provided all other specifications are met, the produce may be eligible for a "certified organic" designation.)
Organics farmers are small business owners. Please support them-and our environment- when you can.
Phoenix Wisebone, Vancouver