Farmers and regulators, and public opinion, should not simplistically focus on whether a chemical is synthetic or ‘natural’; the deciding factor should be solely what is the most effective and environmentally sustainable crop protection product. A version of this article appeared on the GLP on November 16, 2018. Keep all sprays and powders away from blossoms ALWAYS, no matter what it is. Garden management is your first go-to. Because copper is toxic, it can also cause serious damage by killing plant tissues. Many environmental groups try to convince the public that organic farming equates with pesticide-free farming while conventional agriculture (both GMO and non-GMO) requires heavy pesticide use. Addition of Hawaiian bees to endangered species list unrelated to honey bees, Daily Digest & Outbreak Coronavirus (Mon-Thu), Happy Thanksgiving to our US readers! However, there is a safer synthetic alternative to copper sulfate, depending on the specific purpose: Zolera, which is a combination of a fast-acting and highly systemic strobilurin with highly systemic triazole. It has been associated with skin and eye irritation, and swallowing large volumes of it can cause nausea, vomiting and tissue damage. Learn about our Clinical Training Program & Tools for Health Professionals. We can’t do this work without your help. Nonetheless, the IARC ruling has been taken out of context and is often used by organic activists and anti-chemical advocacy groups to argue that glyphosate (and glyphosate resistant GE crops) should be banned from use. It’s also often used by many conventional farmers. Available size: Pint (16oz) For industrial uses, copper is used as a fungicide, in water pipes (which can and do eventually corrode, especially with acidic tap water), in swimming pools, in jewelry and in some cookware. It is toxic. Interested in our Health Consulting services? Follow him on Twitter @AMPorterfield. Many natural pesticides have been found to be potential – or serious – health risks. BIO. The damage can reach beyond the farmers who live close to sprayed areas. *Scroll down to dismiss notice. While no pesticide is entirely safe, organic products are not necessarily less hazardous than their conventional counterparts. Common sources include sulfur, copper, plant oils and bicarbonates. Thus began my learning curve and it has been quite a ride. [For an explanation of the split between mainstream scientists using risk analysis and IARC using a hazard analysis, read the GLP FAQ here.]. Andrew Porterfield is a writer and editor, and has worked with numerous academic institutions, companies and non-profits in the life sciences. It is one of many pesticides approved under the USDA National Organic Program. As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. It’s used by both organic farmers although conventional farmers do have synthetic alternatives. Organically grown produce may contain copper residues from copper fungicide usage. We should not simplistically decide to forego using any chemical merely because they pose some dangers under certain circumstances. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer research arm of WHO, controversially declared the popular synthetic pesticide glyphosate “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The classification served as a basis for the ruling in a recent California trial in which a jury decided that Monsanto (now owned by Bayer), which patented glyphosate under the trade name Roundup, was responsible for a groundskeeper’s cancer. Oxidized copper cannot be used by the mitochondria. For example, anti-GMO organization, The Environmental Working Group, writes this about 2,4-D: Researchers have linked 2,4-D to hypothyroidism, suppressed immune function, Parkinson’s disease, cancer and other serious disorders. This is not currently known. Washing vegetables (even if organic) is a good idea, especially if copper fungicides have been used. It is one copper atom bound to one sulfur and four oxygen atoms (the sulfur and four oxygens make the “sulfate” part). For example it is toxic to honeybees when used as a fungicide and a study showed extreme toxicity to bees in tropical environments (it was carried out in Brazil), where copper sulfate is used as a sprayed fertilizer (to provide heavy metal nutrients). Copper toxicity is a well established health challenge. As more research is done into their toxicity, however, this simply isn’t true, either. It is toxic. According to the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, copper, one of the top two organic fungicides (sulfur’s the other one), was used at a rate of 4 pounds per acre in 1971. While much attention has been focused on glyphosate, 2,4-D and other chemicals used by conventional farmers, it’s important for ecologically-conscious consumers to realize what’s being used on organic fields, as well. The only difference is that (with a few exceptions) the pesticides used in organic agriculture have to be derived from “natural” sources. Follow the latest news and policy debates on agricultural biotech and biomedicine? The presence of copper fungicides may partially account for elevated hair, urine and blood copper levels in some people, as well as associated problems related to copper toxicity. Taken in context, and considering tradeoffs, they also provide widespread major economic benefits. In addition, some wineries in France, the US and elsewhere have backed away from growing organic wine because of accumulation of copper in the soil. Yes, the use of biotechnology, GMOs or gene editing to develop antigens for treatments including vaccines are part of the solution. It has not been associated with cancer, but its long-term exposure effects are unknown. If so, your chances of getting severe COVID are significantly reduced, Latin America can’t let its COVID crisis go to waste – it needs a structural overhaul, Viewpoint: After large Thanksgiving gatherings, expect small Christmas funerals. Oxidized copper cannot be used by the mitochondria. Estrogen & Phosphatidylcholine: Are You Deficient. In conventional agriculture as well as organic, it can be used as a fungicide. And the hazard category was not based on real-world exposures. Understanding the role of agricultural copper fungicides on human health necessitates further research. However, topical copper fungicides, which consist of oxidized copper may be present on fruits and vegetables that you buy in stores or at your local farmer’s markets. Bonide liquid copper fungicide is one of the good, effective fungicides at a moderate price. Theoretically, oxidized copper in the soil can be reduced and converted to Copper 1 by plant chemistry. When you can, you should always try to avoid getting fungus in the first place so you don’t have to turn to the big guns. … Organic farming, just like other forms of agriculture, still uses pesticides and fungicides to prevent critters from destroying their crops. The media say yes; Science says ‘no’, Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Copper is a necessary trace element for human health. If you are considering using copper fungicide, be sure to read the label carefully. By continuing to browse or by clicking “Continue” below, you agree to the storing of first- and third-party cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Viewpoint: Biotechnology gave us a COVID vaccine. Copper fungicides are an “allowable” chemical that can be used on organic food crops. The chemical could drift from sprayed fields into nearby neighborhoods. This can disrupt the membranes around cells, causing the cells to die. This was my favorite and go to fungicide for years... that was until the turf developed a resistance to it. The ways in which farmers use these mostly beneficial chemicals are highly regulated and in almost instances safe for farmers and consumers.
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