Graphic showing the cycle of how applying pesticides results in only applying even more pesticides.

The pesticide “treadmill.” It is a self-perpetuating cycle that only results in stronger and more resistant pests and weeds.

It is always a learning opportunity and an honor to talk with Dr. Chuck Benbrook, one of the most knowledgeable agricultural researchers on the impact of pesticides on human health. Chuck and I share a big concern for how the escalation of pesticides in the Midwest will impact young moms, fetuses and young children. There are plenty of early warnings that the Corn Belt population is the most vulnerable. Pesticide residues found in pregnant women’s urine show a correlation to low birth weight and premature babies. Studies have revealed a dramatic drop in sperm count among men of reproductive age. Instances of autism and infertility are increasing.

It clearly is time to stop, take a deep breath and ask, why don’t these long-term health alarms take precedence over the short-term economics of corn and soy production? Why are these issues so under-reported? And even more worrisome, why are researchers who are interested in studying this area intimidated and bullied?

It’s time to cry foul and call out those corporations who deceive the public by manipulating research, shamelessly appealing to emotion rather than objective facts to gain trust, or outright lying. They are poisoning us by fighting superweeds with bigger and “better” pesticides that create even more immune superweeds — and the poison treadmill goes on and on as do the profits of the corporations…while the profits of farmers keep sinking. It’s agriculture’s Achilles heel.

Agro-ecology – agriculture without the use of toxic pesticides – can be the future. It’s the good news. We know how to do it. We are doing it now. True, it won’t create enormous profits for corporations, but it will feed the world and make farming great again.

Time to get OFF the pesticide treadmill! Listen to Dr. Chuck Benbrook’s two-part episode here or wherever you get your podcasts.

And afterward, I challenge you to commit to at least one thing that will contribute to getting off the pesticide treadmill in your own life, whether it’s opting-out of lawn chemicals, using natural flea control options for pets, choosing organic and heirloom seeds for your garden, using your dollars to support organic food production, or any number of other small actions.