Contrary to popular belief, organic farming does use pesticides, albeit the lesser-toxic and naturally-derived form of pesticides. The farm needs it to protect its crops from pests. Natural pesticides are believed to be less toxic since they are derived directly from natural sources such as plants. They are not, however, 100% safe as some are led to believe. Although your exposure to toxic pesticides is lower when you eat organic, it doesn’t mean there are no pesticides in what you eat.
Why Are Some Pesticides Harmful?
It is the suffix -cide that you should give your attention to. Cide means killer. So, pesticide means killer of pests and so on. While there is a common assumption that natural pesticides are cleaner and healthier, that is far from the truth. Even organic farmers know that there could be some harm to the pesticides that they use. So, how do you protect yourself from this?
Understanding that this is normal in the process is the first step. The pesticide—synthetic and natural—is designed to target pests and insects. They will kill specific species, but they carry little to no effect for the non-target species. This means that a pesticide designed to kill insects will not necessarily affect a mammal, including humans.
On the other hand, synthetic pesticides are known to contain carcinogens, teratogens, and mutagens. But don’t feel bad if you’re still consuming products with synthetic pesticides today. Most of them have little to no effect on humans. These things are designed to target a specific species. Humans are not it.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
The pest control industry is dependent on integrated pest management. Basically, what this does is to implement different tactics to control pest issues. What are the other methods being used to control pests? Mechanical traps, habitat alteration, and exclusion methods are just some of the ways that IPM uses to control and manage pests.
For example, managing rodents in the field shouldn’t be a problem if the farmers can identify where they are coming from. In an organic farming setting, this could be an effective method. The rodents should be effectively trapped or excluded from the building or the field. Then, there is no need for rodenticides.
If the area can be sanitized, why would there be a need for insecticides? Thus, the reduction of the need for insecticides is one of the ways to reduce human exposure to it, too. The focus should primarily be on controlling pests.