Thursday, June 24, 2010

Study says natural pesticides can do more harm than synthetics

Arsenic is a natural element and a deadly one if ingested. Lead, which is certainly natural, can do incredible harm, especially to youngsters. Even common table salt, which almost all of us have on our dinner tables, can result in death if taken in excess.

Many people (too many?) see the word natural as connoting safe and benign, whether for humans or the environment. I don’t know why this is so. Indeed, if you consult your Mirriam-Webster you will see that the neither word safe or benign appear in the 15 or so definitions of the word natural.

But the perception that natural is safer than synthetic or is better for the environment, especially in terms of chemical plant protection products, figures large in the rational of many in the activist community, especially in Canada where a well-organized, well-funded coalition of activist groups are on a mission — and to this point successful one — to take common chemical turf/landscape pest control products out of the hands of homeowners and even professionals that have (from all appearances) used them to good effect for decades.

OK, so what is this leading to?

A recent study by University of Guelph researchers claims that natural pesticides could cause more environmental damage than conventional chemicals.

"These data bring into caution the widely held assumption that organic pesticides are more environmentally benign than synthetic ones," said a synopsis of the paper published in the most recent edition of PLoS ONE, an online magazine that publishes medical and scientific research.

For a recent article in the consumer press about the study click here.

To access the results of the study published in PLoS ONE, click here.

If you already know all you need to know about chemical plant protection products (whether natural or manmade), and nothing you can read will ever add to your vast knowledge or change your opinion on the subject we apologize for wasting your time. Sincerely. — Ron Hall

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