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Pesticides in Fat and Oils are a Real Danger

A chemical that can kill a bug can harm your health. Insects, molds and some bacteria have many of the same enzymes in their cells as mammals do. Many insecticides and other chemicals derived from crude oil can be absorbed by plant seed oils as well as animal fats. These are more dangerous for the consumer than pesticides that can be washed off with a detergent solution.
However, farm workers who have to handle or breathe pesticides are being harmed by all of them. They get rashes, lung and liver disease as well as more cancer and birth defects than the average American.

PAN, the Pesticide Action Network, documents these problems and has prevented some new pesticides from being used. Since chemicals that contain chlorine are especially dangerous to living creatures, methyl bromide has been used instead of methyl chloride to fumigate strawberry fields but it is just as harmful to farm workers. Legislation finally stopped the substitution of an even more dangerous toxin, methyl iodide.

The insecticide DDT was eventually banned in the 1960s after Rachael Carson wrote in “Silent Spring” how insecticides were killing birds or preventing them from reproducing. I remember a poster that pointed out that the breast milk of a pregnant woman might contain DDT.

When I studied the cytochrome system, using homogenized beef heart as an ingredient, I found that cyanide quickly inactivated the cytochromes. My father had used cyanide in a jar with plaster to kill butterflies for his collection. Cyanide gas released in death chambers kills quickly by knocking out cytochrome oxidase. In my research I also found that a chemical developed to kill insects in crops also inactivated the cytochrome system.

Vegetarians who think that all animal fats are bad but all plant oils are good should consider the source of the oil. I say that olive oil is superior to the similar canola oil. Canola oil is made from rape seed, a field crop. Most field crops are sprayed with insecticides. This includes soybeans. The worst salad oil is from cotton seeds. Cotton crops have a heavy dose of insecticides.

If you have a limited budget for organic food, use it for products containing fats or oils. I buy Irish or New Zealand cheddar cheese, olive oil and tofu from organic soybeans.

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