Silent Spring is an environmental awareness book written by Rachel Carson in 1962. This was an earth-shattering book at the time. The book documented the harmful effects on the environment of the haphazard use of pesticides, and brought these issues to the attention of the American masses. Carson blamed the chemical industry for disseminating propaganda, and also accused public officials of turning a complete blind eye to the claims and assumptions purported by the big chemical companies.
Carson was ill with cancer during the book’s release, and was enduring radiation therapy. She predicted that she would have very little vigor to defend her book to critics, mainly the chemical companies. To prepare for such attacks from the big chemical companies, Carson and her agents endeavored to accumulate important and notable supporters before the book’s release date in 1962. Did they know just how important this book would become?
In the weeks before the September 1962 release, Carson’s expectations of opposition came true. The major chemical companies showed a strong opposition to Silent Spring. Household names, that you’ve probably heard of such as DuPont (a major maker of DDT) was among the first to respond. DuPont amassed an widespread report on the book’s press coverage and estimated impact on public opinion. Another chemical company, Velsicol threatened legal action against the book’s publisher Houghton Mifflin, as well as other publications The New Yorker and Audubon Magazine unless they canceled their upcoming articles on Silent Spring.
Carson was confident about her book. Her publishers and their attorneys had vetted Silent Spring extensively. Houghton Mifflin and the magazines proceeded, and the rest was history.
The chemical industry’s campaign to silence the book was extremely counterproductive. The publicity from this controversy only served to increase public awareness of the harmful dangers of using pesticides. Pesticides became a major issue after CBS aired a TV special “The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson”, in early 1963.
After this, Carson’s Silent Spring gained so much traction and publicity that it became a rallying point for the new environmental movement of the 1960s.
Carson’s helped to stop the use of DDT in America. Perhaps her most important contribution was her battle to ban the use of DDT in the United States.
In addition to illustrating the harmful effects of DDT, Carson also called attention to the extreme “handling the money and serving the food” of the USDA. Until 1970 the USDA was responsible for both regulating pesticides and encouraging the concerns of the agriculture industry. Carson rightfully saw this as a huge conflict of interest. Note that even in 2016, in our current times, the WSDA is responsible for pesticide complaints in Washington State. How is this possible in our day and age??
Thankfully, President Nixon established the EPA in 1970, which created a counterbalance to the power held by the USDA prior to that date. Some have described the EPA as the legacy of Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring.
I always think its funny that people think Environmental protection and activism is a new thing. It’s a sentiment as old as the Bible.
“Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it.34 Do not defile the land where you live and where I dwell, for I, the Lord, dwell among the Israelites.” Numbers 35:33
Why do we still have pesticides that defile both the land, ourselves and our families?
Do we just turn a blind eye because we can’t see the affects of these pesticides immediately with our own two eyes. Are humans just that bad judges of latent danger?
What’s the matter with a little bit of Arsenic? The common excuse is “well its a naturally occurring element in nature”. Only problem is that the stuff they found in this Yakima Valley apple juice is INORGANIC ARSENIC, which is associated with CANCER and a bunch of other horrible health problems. It most likely came from an older orchard. As you know if you read this blog, old orchards can be hotbeds of toxicity for lead and arsenic.
In the letter, addressed to Mary Ann Bliesner, President of Valley Processing Inc., The FDA pointed out that, “prolonged exposure to high levels of inorganic arsenic is associated with cancer, skin lesions, developmental effects, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity, and diabetes in humans.”
IS THAT ALL?? Why did this company get let off with JUST a warning? Why not something much more harsh?
Is anybody going to wake up? We need to crack down on the Apple industry; an industry that has had excessive hubris and disregard for human and environmental health.
Washington apple growers are well aware possible lead and arsensic in the soil because the information is out there and widely known. They just don’t want to confront the truth because its bad for business. Heck, PBS even did a documentary on it, which our Blog detailed a while back. You can read our past Blog article called
The thing that really ticks me off, and PBS is the one that makes this brilliant point, is that the industry wants to keep all the Lead Arsenate history hush-hush.
This is what PBS said: “But the apple industry and politicians resisted efforts to make a bigger issue of contamination on former orchards. Evidence of actual exposures was scant, they said; too much noise about lead and arsenic would hurt the region’s apple growers, they contended.”
So what do we get as a result of the Apple industry’s hush-hush attitudes??? We get the FDA finding ARSENIC in apple juice! We get poison in our food, because the apple industry does not want to confront the past and acknowledge that it dramatically affects the present. These farmers don’t want to think or talk about it. Well, our blog is talking about it, and we think the apple industry should be ashamed of itself for not having more awareness and being more careful with the products its produces. Think about how many children drink apple juice!
I had to share this awesome video called “Why are we being fed by a poison expert?”
What this guy has to say is already well known by educated people around the world… But a lot of farmers and growers still use RoundUp. Why? Either they are ignorant of the facts, or turning a blind eye to them. AFter all, the favorite excuse I get is “There ain’t nothing wrong with pesticides and herbicides.”
Scientists have found that Glyphosate induces human breast cancer cell growth. If you want to get scientific, check out this study in PubMed that examines how Glyphosate “showed its potential adverse health effects to humans as it may be an endocrine disruptor”.
So why do they still dump Glyphosate into Roses Lake?
The article points out some shockers: “Monsanto asked the Environmental Protection Agency to seal the biotech giant’s studies on glyphosate”.
Ouch. And then of course, “Scientist Anthony Samsel, with the assistance of his U.S. Senator, was finally able to obtain these secret studies in 2015, he discovered that lab animals fed even small amounts of glyphosate ended up with cancer and tumors in virtually every organ and gland.”
This kind of slow-to-move attitude by our government reminds me a lot of the highly dangerous and toxic chlorpyrifos, which is about to get banned. The EPA was dragging its feet on banning. The EPA actually got sued to take action by the Pesticide Action Network, and now it is about to ban Chlorpyrifos.
Did I mention that Roundup is so popular, they dump this crap in Roses Lake. Apparently the waterfront property owners don’t want their little lake to have smelly algae or be murky. They’d rather have cancer-causing poison. A word to the wise, Roses Lake has already been pummeled by decades of DDT and lead arsenate, and that junk has stuck around. I would never eat the fish in this lake.
EYE IRRITATION? This stuff has been shown to cause cancer, autism and other horrible things. When will our government pick up the pace and start protecting us?
What is “Organic”? The State of Washington defines it as “Organic is a labeling term that indicates that an agricultural product has been produced by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Use of sewage sludge, irradiation, genetic engineering, and most synthetic fertilizers or pesticides is prohibited.”
Congress found that “consumers are demanding fresh and processed foods produced using organic methods“. Way back in 1990! Imagine that 26 years ago we were seeing Organics positively trending, and enough to gain congressional attention.
Turning to Organic methods seems like common sense for Washington apple growers, doesn’t it? Not using harsh synthetic pesticides seems like a good idea, doesn’t it? Especially when your house is in the middle of your orchard, as most houses are in Central Washington.
Strong evidence exists that industrial chemicals widely disseminated in the environment are important contributors to what we have called the global, silent pandemic of neurodevelopmental toxicity.6,7 The developing human brain is uniquely vulnerable to toxic chemical exposures, and major windows of developmental vulnerability occur in utero and during infancy and early childhood.8 During these sensitive life stages, chemicals can cause permanent brain injury at low levels of exposure that would have little or no adverse effect in an adult.
Are you paying close attention, conventional apple growers? Do you need any more evidence or reason to go organic?
Some growers won’t go organic, even in this day and age, and with all the evidence. We’ve been researching the issue for some time.
Here are some common excuses that conventional apple growers make for not going organic:
There’s a lot of paperwork and red tape to growing certified organic.Our answer: Yes, there is certainly, and it’s a good thing because quality control measures like these keeps the “Organic” label on your food a thing of integrity. It maintains consumer confidence. Just because organic certification is difficult, or time consuming, or takes paperwork, isn’t it worth it? Not to spray yourself, your family, and your environment with poison? It may not be easy doing all this paperwork, but it is the ethical thing to do (and the healthy thing for yourself, your workers, and your family!)
It takes several years years to turn a crop organic. Our answer: Yes, it does. But look at what other successful organic growers like Jim Koan did. Start now, so that you can have a healthier family, home, and community. Again, the time argument…. not it’s not the easy way to grow apples. But it is the ethically right way.
It’s not as profitable. It would cost us too much and we couldn’t afford to turn organic. Our answer: Conventional growers you have two options here… keep blasting chlorpyrifos into the air, keep creating an unethical product laden with pesticides, or do the ethically and morally correct thing? Change is scary. Embrace it. You could actually make more money growing Organic apples. According to this article in Forbes, “The USDA’s 2007 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) of organic apple producers found that most farms chose organic methods because they could increase their income.” But even if you didn’t make as much money growing organic… Money isn’t a good excuse for justifying poisoning your family. Sadly, it will take government intervention and the changing of laws to force most apple growers to go organic. Most growers, stuck in their ways and stubborn, won’t voluntarily chance the possibility of risk in turning organic. It’s new, and takes learning new methods, which is not always easy. Change can be scary.
Consumers will only buy large, beautiful, blemish-free apples at the grocery store. Our answer: Yes! This has been true with most consumers. Over the past 50 years, they have been trained to accept nothing less than a picture perfect fruit. Organic apples are most often smaller; not what the average American is used to seeing. But let’s be honest, conventional apples are unhealthy, unnatural Frankenstein creations. One part pesticide, one part herbicide, and one part fertilizer, and add a little wax on there to make it shine. Consumers have been taught to recognize a freakishly produced, terrible product, just because it is visually appealing. I mean… have you ever tasted a Red Delicious? It tastes like crap! Mushy and flavorless. But it’s the apple so often used in pretty pictures and marketing. Let’s eat with our brains, not with our eyes… The good news is that people are rapidly already changing their perceptions, and demand for organics is rapidly growing. It’s not such a crazy concept if an article in USA Today reads, “Organic farmers face growing pains as demand outpaces supply“.
But you still have to spray organic crops. Our answer: Yes, you do. But not with harsh synthetic man-made pesticides. The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 stipulates that synthetic substances are prohibited, and non-synthetic substances are allowed for use in organic food production. The point is that you don’t have to spray crops with harsh, horrible man-made pesticide crap from companies like Dow Chemical or Wilbur Ellis. Crap like chlorpyrifos, which was originally developed as a nerve gas in WW2 era, and converted to agricultural use as an insecticide postwar. Chlorpyrifos is extremely toxic to children, and drastically affects their development. You get to spray them with gentler things, like stated on the WSDA’s permitted substances…. Seaweed and fish extracts, and that’s a big step in the right direction. A product called “Bugitol” is on there as a pesticide. It’s made from Capsaicin, an active ingredient in Chili Peppers. Sounds fine to me, and a whole lot better than that chlorpyrifos garbage.
You can’t get a decent crop yield from organic apples. Our answer: You may indeed get less of a yield. The USDA data said that “organic yields for fresh-market apples were 18 percent lower “. So yes, organic may have a lower yield, but size isn’t everything. Bigger yield and more profit does not justify the use of horrible pesticides like chlorpyrifos (proven to disturb the brains of children). Although the “biggest yield” might be the best thing for your profit margin, is it the best thing for human health? The community? Children? The environment? Will consumers even continue to buy your conventional apples? (The answer is no, the USDA is even giving you a clue: “While U.S. acreage and production of apples has declined in recent years, consumer demand has spurred a fast-growing organic apple sector. “) And lets face it… the only reason we are able to grow acres and acres of visually perfect conventional apples is… you guessed it, the modern chemical industrial-complex. Conventional apple growers are creating a chemically engineered product that is totally unnatural; it’s not at all what nature intended.
Organic fruit can still has pesticides on it. Our answer: Yes, nothing is perfect. Natural pesticide residue can be found on organic produce, but its a heck of a lot better to have chili pepper residue on my apples than synthetic organophosphate pesticides that disrupt child brain development. Pesticide drift also happens, and it can unfortunately affect Organic fruit. But as Civil Eats points out “In most cases, even certified organic produce is not pesticide-free. But compared to most conventional produce, it can mean a big step in a less-toxic direction.” Organic is better. Why wouldn’t we all want a better, healthier way?
I stumbled upon this healthy lifestyle blog, Wake the Wolves, which gives some reasons why you should eat organic apples. One of the best and most common sense “Organic apples taste better.” They also spelled out the pesticide issue in plain speak, “Apples are highly contaminated because of the pesticide spraying process. Tractors are driven directly next to the apple trees with a mechanical spraying device that shoots out large even spurts of pesticide to coat the leaves AND the exterior of the fruit. This pesticide adheres to the skin and even seeps into the core because the concave shape near the stem creates a perfect bowl-shaped vessel.”
I think I will subscribe to that blog!
Let our own blog article be a word to the wise. The apple industry will wake up one day, just like it did with the Alar scare of the 1990’s, and will be forced to go entirely organic. Many growers won’t like it. Many will be confused and bewildered, and many will go belly up. Most will have ignored the warning signs, like this blog. So do the smart thing and convert to organic now. Organics will be government mandated someday, and all consumers will demand it that their fruit be organic. Blogs like this will educate and pave the way. Documentaries (like the dozens on Netflix) will show the average American what’s wrong with the food system. The time will come.
Wait a minute? Why am I talking about this day as if it is in the future? It’s already here. Pay attention guys, the USDA is even giving you a clue: “While U.S. acreage and production of apples has declined in recent years, consumer demand has spurred a fast-growing organic apple sector. ”
That same USDA article even says that “organic produce continues to show double-digit growth”. bigger industries have been disrupted more quickly than the $2.18 billion dollar apple Washington industry. (Which is a paltry sum in comparison to other industries). Take the taxi industry for example. If you told taxi drivers 5 years ago that Uber and Lyft would completely disrupt and change their way of life, would they have believed you?
Actually, that’s not so much a clue, as a giant red flag. Time to wake up conventional Washington apple growers!
Stumbled across this study from UC Davis. It was also published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. There is a great quote next to a picture of a strawberry, “Strawberries grown without pesticides contain up to 19 percent more natural antioxidants.”
WOW. 19% more natural antioxidants? To me that’s awesome. Organic is really worth the extra money you pay.
You can check it out here: https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/organic-and-sustainable-foods-have-more-polyphenolics-linked-health-benefits
My take-away? Seems like common sense to most folks that organic is better. But to me, this study is just more real, scientific proof that organic is better for you.
Why doesn’t the Washington apple industry go organic?
The proof is here. Buckle your seat belts apple growers! The truth is here in the form of… yes, real evidence. Your customers are catching onto your pesticide use, and they do not like it. This means they do not like your products, and they will not buy your product. So start learning some organic farming, because the future is here and you will need to learn how to adapt. Nasty harsh pesticides are out!
Is the Washington apple industry going to get the message here? Consumers do not want you to spray toxic pesticides on their food. You can argue this point that “they aren’t that bad for you” as much as you like. The people are going to vote with their dollars. Consumer demand is going to rule here, and you will be out of luck when you find yourself offering pesticide-laced products to a populace that doesn’t want them.
Yeah, its sad. We have a department of the Washington state government that has to spend its time dealing with pesticide illness incidents. We actually have to collect data on this. And this only reinforces my believe that these nasty chemical pesticides need to go.
Here is the link to the illness reports: http://www.doh.wa.gov/DataandStatisticalReports/EnvironmentalHealth/Pesticides
And of course, orchards are reported to be the culprit: “As reported by the Yakima Herald, all of the recent drift cases have taken place in areas with orchards.”
OH! And don’t forget about the birth defect rates in these areas. Sickening! The article goes on to say, “Meanwhile, many of the same counties affected by pesticide drift – including Yakima, Benton, and Franklin – have also reported a spike in a rare and deadly birth defect that triples the average rate seen across the rest of the United States. “
What is going on? Why is the apple industry not more introspective of its effects on the community?