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Chapter

SOC 2080 Course Reader 3.docx


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 2080
Professor
Anthony Winson

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Pesticide Alert
-can be found in drinking water and food and air
-pesticides are toxic chemicals [most can cause cancer, birth defects, changes in genetic material]
-pesticides used in agriculture take up 60%
How Does it Affect Humans
-ground water contains unwanted pesticides as well as surface water
-more than half of the pesticides in food can’t be found by FDA’s lab methods
-farmers that come into contact w/pesticides have a higher chance of certain cancers
-the pests that farmers are using these pesticides to get rid of are becoming immune to the pesticides
[both insects as well as weeds and fungi]
-widespread use of chlorinated pesticides has reduced bird populations
Pesticides in Food
-many pesticides in foods have been suspected of causing cancer, other types of pesticides can cause
birth defects or miscarriages/infertility
-FDA can’t always determine pesticides that leave residue in food
-EPA has concluded that captan is a human carcinogen, therefore any level of exposure can cause cancer
-majority of captan tolerance were set before EPA knew the chemical caused cancer
-tolerances don’t cover one of the compounds’ breakdown products that might also be a carcinogen
-exposure to any level of pesticide residue is cause for concern b/c of possibility of synergism exists
[exposure to more than 1 chemical product that causes greater toxic effect]
Pesticides in Fruits and Vegetables
-between 1982-1985 there were 110 different types of pesticides in fruits and vegetables
-of the 25 found most frequently, 9 caused cancer [one of which was DDT which was banned in the 70’s]
-imported foods contained more pesticide residue than domestically grown food
-23% of domestically grown tomatoes had pesticides, whereas 70% if imported tomatoes had pesticides
What can Consumers Do
-demand food w/out pesticides
-wash all products [removes some, but not all]
-peel produce when appropriate [peeling skin removes any residue
-grow your own food
-buy organic [most don’t use any chemicals]
-buy domestically grown products/buy products in season [imported goods have more pesticides]
-beware of perfect looking produce [many chemicals used to enhance cosmetic appearance]
-meet w/supermarket manager
-write federal/state government officials
-write to congressional representatives
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