Go organic in September
As the season changes, this month sees the return of Organic September, an initiative led by the Soil Association to work with everyone to transform the way we eat, farm and care for our natural world. Their website states that ‘If the whole of Europe switched to an organic or agroecological food and farming system, we would see a 40% drop in emissions. Half of this drop would result from a cut in the use of fossil fuel-based nitrogen fertiliser.’
The Soil Association are calling for 25,000 signatures to help support them in this goal to petition the UK Government. The UK is already lagging behind legislation set by the EU on banning pesticides and herbicides according to PAN UK.
Whilst systemic change of this scale can feel too remote for many of us, there are plenty of small changes we can make to have an impact on the environment, as well as improving our health by exposing our body’s to fewer chemicals.
The health effects of pesticides
757 million metric tonnes of pesticides and 1732 metric tonnes of herbicides are used in the global food supply chain every year. The effects on human health recorded range from mild reactions such as breathing and skin irritation to links with serious illnesses such as cancer.
The world’s most widely used herbicide is glyphosate. In 2015 the World Health Organization classified it as “probably carcinogenic” to humans. Glyphosate exposure has been linked to cancers including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, renal tubule carcinoma, pancreatic islet-cell adenoma, and skin tumours.
How to reduce your exposure to chemicals in food
Choosing organic food is the easiest way to reduce your exposure to pesticides and herbicides in your diet. One way to get started is to avoid foods that appear on the PAN UK Dirty Dozen list that are known to have the highest levels of pesticides, and switch the foods that you eat most regularly that appear on the list to their organic alternative.
Most food retailers offer a good range of organic foods and ingredients to make it more accessible to everyone, and there are plenty of online organic food specialists. The BOOM Awards feature the winners of Best of Organic Food Market, and include everything from chocolate, cheese, to store cupboard staples.
- Learn more about organic food by visiting the Soil Association
- Pesticide Atlas – The Pesticides Action Network (PAN) report on global pesticide use.
- Visit our news section for more updates on ultra processed and GM foods, and information about how to reduce your exposure to chemicals in your everyday life.