Have you heard of “Forever chemicals”? They are what they say they are, chemicals that never go away. I watched a film over Christmas called “Dark Waters” which was enlightening and based on real events.
More and more research is demonstrating that these chemicals are present in all of us and in everything. These chemicals are called per or polyfluorinated alkyl substances.
They are used for nonstick coatings on pans and on all sorts of other things to make them waterproof. They are also used in agriculture and are sprayed on our food, flufenacet is one such herbicide in common usage..
The film was very interesting and apart from the shocking nature of the lawyer’s findings, a key learning was that these large agribusinesses are generally self-regulating.We all know what this means. When an industry that is making billions of dollars from selling something and in the process is poisoning people and the planet is left to self-regulate, we know the result is probably not going to be one that brings peace, happiness, and prosperity to all. It is hard to see how there can be any other way other than self-regulation. As with clinical trials the cost of measuring and understanding the implications of widespread use of synthetic chemicals in our food chain would be too much of a burden for any public body to shoulder.
So, accountability and full transparency of the results of the testing must be released into the public domain, and this is not always the case it seems. In the end the truth always comes out, but at what cost? In the case for a class of chemicals called the neonicotinoids it was nearly too late for the bees.In the early 1990s a class of chemicals called the neonicotinoids were released; they went on to be the most widely used insecticides in the world. They were banned in the EU in 2018 due to their acute toxicity to bees. But the manufacturers knew from the outset that they displayed toxicity towards bees. see ref here (1)
A recent piece of research carried out right here in Ireland by DCU discovered that these chemicals banned since 2018 were still found in the soil on farms across Ireland. see ref here (2) The group says their presence in the fields demonstrates how hard it is to decontaminate farms once chemicals accumulate in the soil. Some of the chemicals are so persistent, they are expected to linger in the soil for over 20 years
.These chemicals are extremely harmful to bees, attacking the nervous system and affecting memory and foraging abilities so they cannot feed effectively, and residues were still being reported in Irish honey last year, the researchers reported.
Whilst 20 years doesn’t constitute a forever chemical, it is still a very substantial period of time. It seems that self-regulation around the neonicotinoid chemicals did not work. Even when it was clearly scientifically proven that their chemicals were toxic to bees, the manufacturers denied the fact and continued to lobby and push for more sales. So, whose interests were they protecting? Certainly not the bees, certainly not you and I as consumers, certainly not the farmers, and definitely not the planet, leaves only themselves I guess?
Organic farming requires land to undergo two years of a detox before plants grown their can be sold as organic. Late last year we had a sample of kale tested for more than 870 chemicals and it came back 100% clean. Organic is not a perfect system, but it certainly aims to keep the chemicals out of our food and off our planet.
Happy new year
PS: Our Farm shop is back open tomorrow Sat the 6th of Jan. Hope you are all back on board for a healthy happy, chemical free new year. We are fully back to normal next week, and we hope you can join us too. Thanks for your support. You can order now to get all our lovely fresh produce dropped to your door next week.