At the Garlic is Life! Symposium, a dedicated and determined former mayor of the small town of Quincy, Washington, Patty Martin, energetic mother of four who is also an advocate of childrens' health issues, talked about a book, "Fateful Harvest", by Pulitzer finalist Duff Wilson, that shows the consequences that can occur when fertilizers become contaminated with industrial waste. She said the widespread practice of using industrial wastes as fertilizer ingredients because they contain some percentages of Potassium, Phospherous and Nitrogen in some form is harmful because they often also contain lead and other heavy metals, dioxins as well as other toxins that are absorbed by the food plants that we eat. Cancers, pulmonary fibrosis and various organ disorders may result from overexposure to some of these toxins, according to the book.
Mostly, government regulators are indifferent to this practice and seem to ignore this essentially public safety issue for reasons that are easy to understand and hard to forgive. If terrorists were putting these toxic substances into the fertilizers or spraying radioactive material on the soils we use to grow our foods, there would be an angry uproar. But since it's some big rich soft-money contributing corporations doing it, it is tolerated. Scary.
Until recently I thought that NPK fertilizers weren't so bad; after all, it was the pesticides that were the real problem, right? I now see I was wrong and that many commercial fertilizers are as bad and some are worse than pesticides and are actually hazardous to your health. Fertilizers have been required to have their claimed amounts of Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potassium, but the other "inert" ingredients weren't regulated so any hazardous waste that contained any amounts of any form of N, P or K could be sold as fertilizer, regardless of what the undisclosed ingredients were.
At the 2001 Garlic is Life! Symposium in Tulsa I met the former mayor of a small town in Washington and listened to her story. Patty Martin and some of her constituents discovered that some large industrial companies were disposing of hazardous wastes, including dioxins, lead, mercury, and even some radioactive material by putting it into fertilizer or selling it to companies that did. She was rightfully concerned for the welfare of her own family as well as all the town's other people and rattled enough people's cages to spur an investigation by investigative reporter, Duff Wilson of the Seattle Times newspaper. The story attracted nationwide attention and was nominated for a Pulitzer prize. It resulted in the state of Washington passing and implementing a law regulating the content of fertilizers and requiring fertilizer manufacturers to label the contents. They also tested all fertilizers sold in Washington and have published the list of ingredients on the internet - good move!
The EPA had built expensive hazardous waste disposal sites to prevent these dangerous materials from contaminating farmer's fields or public water systems. By selling their wastes to fertilizer manufacturers, industrial companies generating hazardous waste avoid the expense of proper disposal and expose all of America to hazard by pouring the hazardous waste directly upon the farmer's fields, where it can contaminate crops and can run off with the next rain right into the public water systems. They have turned hazardous waste into a profitable venture. Slick, huh? Where did you think all that money comes from that pays those exorbitant CEO bonuses? Who says there's no more opportunity left in America?
I don't have anything against big business or corporations or anything of the sort. Every nation today needs a solid economic foundation to support their infrastructure. I also think a clean environment, like Mother Earth gave us to begin with, is the best environment for all living things, especially human beings and their children. I also think it's in businesses long term best interest to protect the environment that fosters their great profit. Maybe I am wrong, but I think the public will give greater support to organizations they see as working in their better interest and oppose those they see as fouling their environment. To see this is true, one only has to look at the riots in Seattle and other places where big business/government has assembled to discuss ways to exploit the world's resources. If these groups had done things differently and had a better reputation, they would not have had so much trouble and expense. It's when you try to force things on people that problems begin. If people coordinate and cooperate, problems are prevented or minimized.
Corporate staffers need to realize that they breathe air, drink water and eat food, too and therefore have a vested personal interest in their own health and need to develop ways to do business that are less polluting and learn to work with environmental groups to solve these problems together. People working together can always get more done than people in opposition, because of the difference in wasted energy and resources.
Is it possible that previously unsuspected sources of carcinogens have been contributing to American's increase in diseases and malignancies? Read more about it to see how you can minimize your own risk. Garlic may be able to remove heavy metals from the body and do other things to ward off some of the effects of pollution, but the best solution is to prevent the pollution - just like it was before we started messing with things we didn't fully understand, and still don't. When considered with GMO plants that threaten to mutate the world's similar native species into their own kind, losing millions of years of the wisdom of natural evolution and substituting someone's short-sighted selfish whim instead that could result in the extinction of many biological creatures.
If you want to know more about what goes into the fertilizer and winds up in your food, follow our links. After all, if you eat, drink or breathe, you're already involved.
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