Tuesday, September 30, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Mother Nature’s pesticides

By
From page A2 | September 11, 2012 |

“Most plants employ chemical warfare to survive,” says Bruce Ames, a senior scientist for nutrition and metabolism at Children’s Hospital in Oakland and professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. He’s also a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, and inventor of the widely used Ames test, which helps screen for cancer-causing agents.

“Think about it,” he told me. “Most plants the world over are poisonous and unfit for human consumption. That’s how nature allows them to protect themselves from predators.”

Yes, over millennia man has found a way to domesticate some of them, so to speak. But in the main, not many are edible. Those that are edible are still loaded with naturally occurring pesticides.

“In fact,” he said, “99.99 percent of the pesticides you get from foods are naturally occurring toxins. And they are every bit as ‘dangerous’ as the synthetic variety.”

Which, if you are consuming them as part of a normal diet — and not at the astronomically high levels that cause some cancers in animal studies — is, well, “not very.” Or better put, it would be far more dangerous to eschew a diet full of fruits and vegetables and all the crucial cancer-fighting and other nutrients they provide than to consume the trace amounts of pesticides, whether naturally occurring or synthetically made, that come with all produce.

Essentially, Ames told me, forget the organic-vs.-conventionally-grown debate. What’s important is that you eat your fruits and veggies — and a lot of them.

I talked to Ames because a study just out in the Annals of Internal Medicine demonstrates — again — that organic produce has no more vitamins or other nutrients than does the often far less expensive conventionally grown variety.

But typically the debate over whether to shell out all that extra money for organic produce is less about the nutritional value than about the pesticide residue that may be clinging to the grapes or apples or lettuce. And, in fact, this analysis found that conventionally grown produce, as one would expect, is much more likely to have trace amounts of detectable synthetic-pesticide residue than its organic counterpart. It’s worth noting, though, that here such residue could not be detected on most produce examined. And the trace amounts that were found were well within what is considered safe for human consumption.

Anyway, as I’ve written before, it’s the widespread use of synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers that allows us to have cheap and widely available healthy foods in the first place. Strawberries in January in Chicago? As a child, my grandmother would have been amazed. A fertilizer that makes that peach grow bigger and with deeper colors so my kids actually eat it? That’s money in the bank. Or, rather, nutrients in their systems.

Oh, and by the way, protection from E. coli, which can be present in natural fertilizers? Priceless. An E. coli outbreak from organically grown produce in Germany last year led to at least 44 deaths and thousands of people sickened. If the same were caused by contamination of conventionally grown produce, the outrage would be palpable. But I digress.

Most interesting, though, Ames shared with me that he and his colleagues at Berkeley set up an extensive database of hundreds of animal-cancer studies done over decades. Researchers in these studies basically figure out what level of the chemical being studied would kill the animal immediately, they give it just a little less for its whole life and then ask, “Does it cause cancer?” Half the time when it comes to synthetic pesticides, the answer is “yes.” But half the time when it comes to naturally occurring pesticides, the answer is “yes,” too. And the latter is far more prevalent in our produce than anything man makes.

The point is not to be scared. Literally any substance is toxic in a high-enough dose. The point is to understand that eating something “natural” does not automatically confer amazing health benefits. What does? The same thing Mother always said: Eating lots of fruits and vegetables. And now we can add, from whatever the source.

Yep, nutrition fads come and go. But this is age-old wisdom that really can help us to age well.

Betsy Hart’s latest book is “From The Hart: A Collection of Favorite Columns on Love, Loss, Marriage (and Other Extreme Sports).” Reach her through hartmailbox-mycolumn@yahoo.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Fairfield police log: Sept. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Sept. 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Police search for missing man

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
 
Measure A committee plans weekend precinct walk

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A5

 
Voters who have moved urged to check registration

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

Caltrans cancels nighttime Highway 37 closures

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
.

US / World

5 more bodies found at Japan volcano; toll now 36

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Group: Wildlife populations down drastically

By The Associated Press | From Page:

45 dogs dead, 48 alive after North Las Vegas fire

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Police link 2nd case to missing Va. student arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Netanyahu: Hamas, Islamic State group share creed

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Cancer doctor given 10 years for poisoning lover

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Afghan president sworn in, paving way for US pact

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Police ease tactics in Hong Kong protest standoff

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Study: Recessions can postpone motherhood forever

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
White House intruder got far past front door

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Obama efforts to oust Assad pushed to back burner

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Islamic State closes in on Kurdish area of Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Sacramento police seek suspect in dog’s drowning

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Shooing birds from Bay Bridge could cost millions

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Governor signs bills to help those in foster care

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Mountain View police ID gas victims as father, son

By The Associated Press | From Page:

.

Opinion

Editorial cartoons for Sept. 30, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page:

 
President Obama will go out with a war cry

By Doyle Mcmanus | From Page:

Threat of attack ruining taxpayers’ rights

By Dan K. Thomasson | From Page:

 
.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 30, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
I’m unhappy with Phil and playing ‘happy family.’ What should I do?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page:

Community Calendar: Sept. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 30, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

Amanda Bynes arrested for DUI in Los Angeles

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
They did. They do. Clooney/Alamuddin wedding No. 2

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Football commands highest TV ad prices

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Walmart: Morgan, others weren’t wearing seatbelts

By The Associated Press | From Page:

TVGrid Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B8

 
.

Sports

Developer asks for more time for LA football plan

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Monday’s sports transactions

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Raiders fire coach Dennis Allen

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Prep boys soccer: VCS still looking for 1st win of season

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Charles sends Chiefs to 41-14 rout of Patriots

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Clippers return focus to team post-Sterling

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Giants have ample experience facing elimination

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Dover installs catch fence for 2015 NASCAR season

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Warriors happy to have core back, build on success

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

All-women sports show debuts with perfect timing

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Autopsy shows Chiefs LB Belcher had CTE damage

By The Associated Press | From Page:

AJ Hinch hired to manage Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Phil Mickelson saves best shot for his captain

By The Associated Press | From Page:

MLB batting average lowest since 1972 – before DH

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Wild, wild SEC West set for historic day

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Kershaw 1st to lead majors in ERA 4 straight years

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
AP source: 7 umpires rotate at World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Pagenaud joins Penske for 2015 IndyCar season

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Texas’ Strong tells Goodell colleges can do better

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Hornets await NBA investigation into Taylor

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Trout, Strasburg giving playoffs a fresh look

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
NC State coach: No. 1 Florida State faked injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page:

A’s Lester, Royals’ Shields in AL wild-card focus

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Raiders’ season spinning out of control

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Harbaugh dismisses reports of 49ers discord

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
3-way race for NL MVP; Trout takes his turn in AL

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Stewart never considered retiring after Ward death

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Twins fire manager Ron Gardenhire after 13 seasons

By The Associated Press | From Page:

.

Business

Bank of America paying $7.65M to resolve inquiry

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Microsoft to offer early look at next Windows

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

US stocks head lower, following drops overseas

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
US consumer spending up 0.5 percent in August

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

ATM fees keep climbing, survey says

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C. Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Wizard of Id Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Crossword Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Baby Blues Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baldo Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Cryptoquote Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Frank and Ernest Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Pickles Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Rose is Rose Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth Sept 30

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
.

Discover Solano Fall/Winter 2014

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Sonoma County

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: DIS2

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Historic Downtown Winters

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS3

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Winters

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS3

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Napa County

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS20

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Yolo County

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: DIS23

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Western Railway Museum

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS23

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Benicia

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS29

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Downtown Benicia

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS31

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Benicia Fire Museum

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS31

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Benicia Plein Air Gallery

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS31

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Benicia Marina

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS32

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Dixon

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS33

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: DIS35

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Solano Town Center

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS36

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Jelly Belly Candy Co.

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS36

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Fairfield Aquatics Complex

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS37

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tours

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS37

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Suisun Valley

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS39

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Glashoff’s Studio

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS40

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Manka’s Corner

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS41

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Wine Tasting

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS41

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Rio Vista

By Susan Winlow | From Page: DIS42

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Foster’s Bighorn Bar

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS43

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Suisun City

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: DIS45

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Rush Ranch

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS46

Discover Solano Fall 2014: The Suisun Wildlife Center

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS46

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Grizzly Island

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS46

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vacaville Museum

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS47

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Downtown Vacaville

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS47

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vacaville Premium Outlets

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS48

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vacaville

By Susan Winlow | From Page: DIS49

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Nut Tree Plaza

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS50

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vallejo

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS52

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vallejo Symphony

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS53

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Mare Island Museum

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS53

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Children’s Wonderland

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS53

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vallejo Baylink Ferry

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Empress Theatre

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Flyway Festival

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Bay Area Ridge Trail

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS54

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Solano County

By Barry Eberling | From Page: DIS55

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Solano County Golf Courses

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS56

Discover Solano Fall-Winter 2014 Calendar

By Glen Faison | From Page: DIS57

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Bale Grist Mill

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: The Petrified Forest

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Winters Opera House

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Sterling Winery

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Safari West

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: UC Davis Mondavi Center

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Calistoga Hot Springs

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS59

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Vintage Aircraft Company

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Casinos

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Scientopia Discovery Center

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Old Faithful Geyser

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: The Sonoma Raceway

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Hot Air Ballooning

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Robert Louis Stevenson Park

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60

Discover Solano Fall 2014: Sonoma Train Town

By Susan Hiland | From Page: DIS60