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Yup. Lose a penny on every dollar but make it up in volume....That's just the logic Walmart depends upon when pressuring their suppliers to lower their prices.

re: Organic rant

"toxicity is all about dose. Everything is toxic in high enough dose, and harmless at low enough dose. The question is not, are pesticides and herbicides toxic, but are they toxic to humans in the doses that people are likely to be exposed to consuming conventionally farmed produce?"

comment: The issue is not how much poison you consume at a sitting, it is the CUMULATIVE health effects of multiple toxins over a lifetime of exposure. Further, there is clearly a much bigger impact of even small doses of poison on children and fetuses when endocrine systems are developing. The notion that yer just feeding your kid a LITTLE BIT of poison is probably exactly the rational that causes the Flu vaccine folks to include 'just a little bit' of formaldehyde in their drug formulas. "Moderation in all things" is a worthwhile life style guide, but it does not apply to ingesting or injecting poison.

"I also think that organic proponents (and regulations) assume without justification that organic pesticides are safe because they are “natural.” This, of course, is nothing but the naturalistic fallacy (the cornerstone of the organic movement)."

comment: This is such a canard. Organic proponents and regulations do not assume organic pesticides are safe because they are natural. They assume instead, that pesticide use from ANY sourcemust be considered the LAST resort, not the first, that the LEAST OBJECTIONAL pesticides are those which do not ALSO generate toxic waste during production/manufacture, do not contribute to contamination of soils and waterways (not to mention human consumers), and are least likely to create, through over use, pesticide resistent varmits and weeds.

"rant incoherently"

comment: I resemble that.

"critics sometimes search for any tenuous connection to industry as a form of witch-hunt to dismiss legitimate science. One common strategy is to argue that because the institution at which a researcher works receives funding from industry, that creates a conflict of interest for the researcher"

comment: The effect of reliance on private sector funding for Academia is far more subtle than many realize. Sometimes it is not the scholarship that is tainted, but rather the questions researchers are funded to persue. For example, Tobacco company funded Runyon cancer institute paid for lots of research - to ask questions that would lead anywhere but to tobacco's link to lung cancer. The Stanford study is indeed a case in point. In the case of the Stanford study, we already know that plant nutrition is a function of soil fertility and balance. Whether or not farm inputs were Organically sourced is much less relevant than whether or not the farmer uses slow acting fertilizers, mulch, crop rotation, soil testing etc. to maintain the microbial health and nutrient balance in their soil. THOSE are the things that affect plant nutrition.

This is why it is so important to restore Public sector support for our academic institutions. Government support for basic research is the only way to fund long-term research into human health and toxin exposure. We really can't expect the fox to guard the chicken house, and then be surprised when he say's "oops" as he spits out the feathers.

It's almost paradoxical that a technology company would be run by a bunch of retrogrades. The MS people, Google, Apple and others also have supported equal rights. Fast food fried chicken and pizza companies, on the other hand...

Hi Betty Jo. Norm's son here. I see several places in your comments that miss the mark. First, I don't think you really see the point about dose. What indicates this to me is your use of the emotionally loaded term "poison" throughout your comments. Something is only poisonous in the right dose. For example, if taken in massive quantities all at once black pepper is poisonous and will kill you. Does that mean we should label black pepper as a poison? It seems that you want to label anything that is dangerous at some dose as "poison" at any dose. Case in point. You wrote:

"The notion that yer just feeding your kid a LITTLE BIT of poison is probably exactly the rational that causes the Flu vaccine folks to include 'just a little bit' of formaldehyde in their drug formulas."

Formaldehyde is produced as a natural bi-product of digestion in low quantities in everyone. On your view that means we poison ourselves every time we eat, right? Because formaldehyde is a poison at any dose right? Clearly not. It is irresponsible to scare people out of getting flu vaccines. They create heard immunity and protect the elderly from potentially serious complications. There is no evidence that the amount of formaldehyde in flu vaccines is dangerous.

As for the idea of cumulative effects. We have a metabolism to deal with this. Take the case of formaldehyde as produced in digestion again. If our metabolism didn't deal with it, it would accumulate and poison us. However, this is obviously not the case. Many substances are only poisonous or toxic if you get too much all at once. More than your body can handle. Otherwise there is no problem. There are some substances that are poisonous at very low doses and others that are poisonous at high doses and everything in-between. We need to study these things on a case by case basis to know what dosages of substances are safe and which are not.

It is a dodgy rhetorical trick to use "poison" in the way you do. It is meant to scare people out of thinking rationally about the issue.


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