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photo by Ingrid Taylar via Flickr creative commons

In this two-part episode of Rootstock Radio, host Anne O’Connor talks to Jay Feldman, founding executive director at Beyond Pesticides, Since its founding in 1981, Jay has helped build the nonprofit organization’s capacity to assist local groups and influence national pesticide policy on behalf of the safety of humans and pollinators. Jay and Anne cover the ins and outs of the pesticide problem so thoroughly that we had to split their conversation into two parts! Listen at the links above, or on iTunes or Stitcher for this week’s double-dose of good-food-movement-goodness.

Jay says that “as an environmental and public health issue, pesticides are in our lives every day. Most of what we experience when we walk out our front door and go about our day—whether we’re going to work or school, just relaxing or recreating in our town—we’re intersecting with pesticides.” This is a serious problem because exposure to pesticides is proven to pose health risks, from less-severe issues such as headaches, rashes, dizziness and disorientation, to much more severe and life-threatening maladies such as cancer, birth defects, reproductive problems, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and autism.

The obvious question for Jay then becomes “why are we using these materials that are associated with these disease end points if we don’t need them, if there are alternative practices that can be used?” His work at Beyond Pesticides aims to address this question and offer up solutions too. Of course, USDA-certified organic food grown without the use of pesticides is a good place to start, and Jay acknowledges forward progress in that organic food is available in many grocery stores today.