I wish I could offer simple advice: “Never eat any amount, no matter how small,
of rodenticides (rodent killers) or insecticides (insect killers) or pesticides (pest killers).”
But I can’t say this – many plants we eat naturally produce insecticides.
If they didn’t then they’d all be eaten by insects!
You can’t live on a diet made of foods entirely free from insecticides.
No such diet exists.
So why aren’t we all dead from insecticide poisoning?
(a) as stated above, it’s the amount of a chemical that makes it good or bad.
(b) all life on earth evolved to handle these chemicals.
Any life that could be hurt by such tiny amounts of naturally occurring insecticides, died.
Thus they did not have offspring, so their genes did not continue on to the present day.
1) Pesticides, 99.99% all natural. Although regulatory efforts are focused on identifying and controlling synthetic chemicals that are estimated to pose a possible carcinogenic risk to society greater than one in a million (such as Alar), we are ingesting about 10,000 times more natural than synthetic pesticides.
(1) All plants produce toxins to protect themselves against fungi, insects, and predators such as man (2, 3)
Tens of thousands of these natural pesticides have been discovered, and every species of plant contains its own set of different toxins, usually a few dozen. When plants are stressed or damaged, such as during a pest attack, they increase their natural pesticide levels many fold, occasionally to levels that are acutely toxic to humans (4)
Very few of these plant toxins have been tested in animal cancer bio-assays, but among those tested, about half (20/42) are carcinogenic (4, 5)
The case of Alar
Daminozide — also known as Alar, is a chemical sprayed on fruit to regulate their growth, make their harvest easier, and keep apples from falling off the trees before they are ripe. This makes sure they are red and firm for storage.
Alar was first approved for use in the U.S. in 1963, it was primarily used on apples until 1989 when it was voluntarily withdrawn by the manufacturer after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed banning it based on concerns about cancer risks to consumers.
…In addition to apples and ornamentals, it was also registered for use on cherries, peaches, pears, Concord grapes, tomato transplants and peanut vines. … In 1989, it became illegal to use daminozide on food crops in the US, but it is still allowed for use on non-food crops like ornamentals.
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Alar is a popular and safe insecticide:
It makes food cheaply and safely available to millions of people.
In the 1980s some scientists ran tests with massively huge overdoses of Alar.
This caused cancerous tumors in rats. (They fed the rats a hundred thousand times the real dosage)
Some TV stations and newspapers ran news stories about Alar, stating it was proven to be a carcinogen.
Americans wrote to government officials demanding that the government ban this chemical.
The EPA soon did restrict it’s use. However, this ban is very controversial.
Alar (Daminozide) is still listed as a probable human carcinogen by the EPA.
However, many scientists say that this is bad science :
“The degree of exposure to Alar necessary for it to be dangerous may be extremely high.
The lab tests that prompted the scare required an amount of Alar equal to over
5,000 gallons (20,000 L) of apple juice per day.”
That is an outrageously bizarre and high amount that no human being could ever consume.
If one took any chemical, from any natural food, and then force fed it to rats – or humans –
at millions of times the normal dosage – of course that animal would get sick
(or, literally explode from all the chemical being pumped into it.)
That doesn’t mean that the chemical is dangerous in any normal amount.