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pregnancy is contagious October 30, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 5:50 pm

theres so many babies on their way right now, everybody around us seems to be expecting. i think i am addicted to pregnancy, and i will live through these other women since i am in no way ready to do it again myself yet. (i think blaze is the middle child, not the last. but not for awhile.)

one of jims colleagues is nearly 12 weeks along and not sure what to do. i met with her today to help her decide if she wants to keep it or not. we talked for a few hours, i told her as genuinely, honestly as i could how its hard and how much you give up and at the same time how you learn how strong you are, and what issues have come from having kids thats strained our relationship. i told her what we went through when we wondered if we should keep my first pregnany or not, the things we had to think about and consider and where we were at the time. obviously shes in a unique situation thats different than mine was, but i can offer her my feedback and help her to bounce her feelings and thoughts off of me. i am telling her these things not because i want to scare her or influence her decision in any way, i just want her to get a feeling, as best as she can, of what shes likely getting into. she really really appreciated hearing it – nobody tells you how scary it is. cause this picture here?


this is not what it looks like. at all. i dont think that mothers tell other soon-to-be mothers whats really going to happen, and stupid pictures like this give a false impression that can end up being damaging if you think that your life should look like this but it refuses to. in the end, its not really a black and white, good choice-bad choice decision, she’ll find that whatever she chooses will probably work out in the end just fine, its just picking which route she wants to continue on from here. (also, abortion isnt viewed the same way in europe as it is here, she has a different view on it than i do and the first thing i tried to do was get a feeling of what abortion meant to her) what i’m hearing from her is that she’ll very likely keep it, shes just feeling uncertain and scared cause everything that she thought was going to happen within the next year or so just fell out from under her.

im getting really annoyed with this disposable diaper issue. we chose to put cordelia and blaze in cloth diapers for many reasons, some of them close to home and specifically about the girls (chemicals in the diaper on their skin all day long, cordelia tends to have bad rash in one particular brand, a couple known carcinogens regularly show up in disposable diapers, the same gel thats used in disposable diapers was in the tampons that ended up turning out to be what caused toxic shock) and then bigger reasons like i do not want to contribute to the something like 2 billion diapers that hit the landfil every year. both girls wear disposables when its necessary (like at night, where the cloth diapers cant handle the long haul) and on the odd day that the cloth diapers are in the wash and we’ve run out. (actually cordelia tends to be naked if we are home if this happens.) but we would really prefer that it stays as an ‘as necessary’ thing that happens only once in a while. unfortunately jims parents arent exactly respectful on this one.

details and specifics aside, there is a trend here and what it really comes down to is that i hate that they wont listen to us. right now its little things – too much juice or milk, disposable diapers when its not needed and we dont want it, and while i do really appreciate everything that they do and have done for us and that they will take the girls quite often for us, i really get annoyed when they overrule our choices. its not like we are really asking very much or that we are being very difficult, and i dont feel that we are being too picky, but i also dont want to be a real stickler and be the scary mom who you can never do anything right by. but really, i am annoyed because i constantly feel like they aren’t listening, so we constantly run into the same type of issue over and over.


i see that i will have to write two books October 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 4:05 pm

this was supposed to be a guide to farmers markets, with a small, ‘pesticides 101’ section in the front. it keeps getting bigger and bigger.

the problem is that for all the work that i am putting into this research, i wont get very much back from it in a book that is about farmers markets in the GTA. but the more i find stuff the more i want to make shure that other people can access it too. people need to know that the majority of the studies that the government is doing on pesticides are funded by the wrong people, and the results have lots of room to be skewed. (c’mon, if the designer of the pesticide did a study that said ‘our chemical cocktail is dangerous,’ do you really think they would send that in to the government for review?) i was wondering how to draw the line at what was enough info, and think i needed to draw the line a long time ago. every time i try to look something up it leads to 10 more questions that i want answers for. its hard because i am coming to think that both sides are slightly stretching the info in whatever direction will help to back them up.the bottom line is that we know that pesticides are dangerous, but we arent sure exactly how dangerous and using them makes more money than not using them, so we’ll keep at it and make it look like its a good idea.

this wasnt supposed to be an ‘eating animals’ sort of in-depth, ‘years of my life in research’ sort of project, it was something nice to do while the girls were sleeping and i wanted something to accomplish that i felt was productive. i’ll have to write the ‘eating animals’ version afterwards, and keep this one from expanding out any more.



something that just came up that i didnt even think about before – reason number 39 for eating organic: pesticides are tested on animals. intentionally poisoning animals to see what happens.


Protected: i need to do a momma rant October 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 11:05 am

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Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 9:20 am

dear government of canada,


the government promises (on its own website) this first:

“Organic produce

Whether to eat organic or conventionally grown produce is a personal choice. Health Canada regulates all products that make pesticidal claims, including products intended to repel pests and protect organic produce. To date, there is no evidence to show indicate that there is a health risk from eating conventionally grown produce because of pesticide residues, or that organic foods are safer to consume than conventionally produced food.”

then, on the same page, they say this:

“Sustainable and integrated pest management

Sustainable pest management happens when pest management strategies are integrated: that is, when all possible effective techniques, including both chemical and non-chemical methods, have been considered to get rid of pests economically, in an environmentally sound manner, and in a way that protects human health.

Health Canada encourages Canadians, including growers, to reduce their reliance on and minimize their exposure to pesticides. Through different programs at the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, Health Canada works with partners like Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and with Canadian pesticide users, to achieve sustainable pest management. Health Canada also works with the provinces and industry associations on research projects to identify and promote different methods to effectively control pests and prevent infestations, and to identify and provide access to newer, reduced risk pesticides.”

so why, government, if, “To date, there is no evidence to show indicate that there is a health risk from eating conventionally grown produce because of pesticide residues,” do you caution people “to reduce their reliance on and minimize their exposure to pesticides” and promise that you are going to ” identify and provide access to newer, reduced risk pesticides.”

then, one page over:

“General Safety Precautions

  • Always read the label carefully. You must follow all safety precautions described on the product label to protect your health, the health of others and the environment.
  • Generally, pesticide application should only be done when there are no children, pregnant women, elderly persons, pets or animals present.
  • Never mix or combine different pesticides together unless the label instructions say to do so.
  • Use a pesticide only for its intended purpose, for example, never use a pesticide indoors when it is intended for outdoor use.
  • Do not apply pesticides directly to people, clothing or bedding, except when told to do so on the label (like when using personal insect repellents).

Additional Safety Precautions

Pregnant women should follow the additional safety precaution of not entering a pesticide-treated area for 24 hours after the pesticide has been applied. Pregnant women may also be more sensitive to the strong odour of ingredients contained in some pesticides. The odour itself is not harmful and should go away if there is enough ventilation. This residual odour may be caused by trace amounts of sulphur-based compounds and solvents in the pesticide.

Children and pets should not be allowed to enter a pesticide-treated area until the applied product is dry, or as specifically directed on the label.

As with many natural and synthetic products, some pesticides may cause allergic reactions in some people. Information on known allergic reactions can be found on the product label. Persons prone to allergic reactions should stay out of the treated area for a period of 24 hours after application.

General Guidelines for Indoor Use of Pesticides

  • Cover or remove food, dishes and utensils from any area that is to be treated.
  • Cover or remove aquariums and pet food dishes.
  • Do not smoke, drink or eat while applying pesticides.
  • Do not rub your eyes or touch your mouth while working with pesticides.
  • After applying pesticides, wash your hands and face with hot soapy water.
  • Do not touch treated surfaces until the pesticide has dried completely (label directions will tell you the anticipated drying time).
  • To help the product dry, provide some air ventilation (for example, open your doors and windows for a few hours).
  • Wash all surfaces that normally come in direct contact with food with hot soapy water, like counters, tables and stove tops.

General Guidelines for Outdoor Use of Pesticides

  • When using a pesticide for the control of home garden pests, be sure to wait the directed amount of time for each garden crop before harvesting.
  • Never spray a pesticide outdoors if wind speed is more than 8 kph (5 mph), or if the air temperature is above 30°C (86°F), or if it is raining. Check your local weather forecast for up-to-date temperature, wind and precipitation information.
  • If noted on the pesticide label, post appropriate warning signs to notify neighbours so that children and pets may be kept away from the treated area.
  • Wear protective clothing as stated on the label, like rubber gloves, long-sleeved shirts, aprons or coveralls. Keep sleeves outside gloves and pants outside boots to prevent the pesticide from getting inside gloves or boots.
  • Use only the rate of application stated on the label. A higher rate may cause injury to plants, kill beneficial insects, and leave undesired residues on plants. On the other hand, a lower rate may not control the pest at all.
  • Do not smoke, drink or eat while applying pesticides.
  • Do not rub your eyes or touch your mouth while working with pesticides.
  • After applying pesticides, wash your hands and face with hot soapy water.
  • Thoroughly wash clothes used during application, separate from regular laundry.
  • Many residual pesticides can be removed from surfaces simply by washing with soap and water.”


This one, however, is fantastic

The Food We Eat: An International Comparison of Pesticide Regulations b y   David R. boyd


this one too.



my new favourite October 25, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 12:14 pm


“OTTAWA – Canada is set to raise its limits on pesticide residues on fruit and vegetables for hundreds of products. The move is part of an effort to harmonize Canadian pesticide rules with those of the United States, which allows higher residue levels for 40 per cent of the pesticides it regulates. Differences in residue limits, which apply both to domestic and imported food, pose a potential “trade irritant,” said Richard Aucoin, chief registrar of the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, which sets Canada’s pesticide rules. However, Canada will only raise its limits “where this poses no risks,” he stressed.

U.S. pesticide residue limits are often higher because their warmer climate means they are plagued by more pests, Aucoin said.”

yes well.

HAHAHAHA to that pack of lies.

we need a word that means ‘bullshit thats so amazingly, obviously bullshit that its not called bullshit anymore but we havea new word because its damn obvious that i cant even believe you’re trying to preach it to me.” where is that word.

JUST ONE THING: how is it that the US can say “this higher level is safe” when canada is simultaneously, “we know that nothing above this lower level is safe” (but were gonna raise it anyways?). its really hard to prove that something is safe. did you look everywhere? did you test everything? you are totally sure?

jim says, ‘wait, isnt this going to hurt canadian farmers even more? what do the conservatives have against farmers?” lots, apparently. hahaha ‘trade irritant.’ CAUSE WE NEED MORE OF THE US’S SHITTY FOOD.


October 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 9:52 pm

how depressing is this?


It is known that pesticides cross the placental barrier and can cause alterations in the development of placental structures resulting in adverse effects in reproduction. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of pesticide exposure during pregnancy on placental maturity and to evaluate the relationship between placental maturity, gestational age and birth weight. We collected the placentas from singleton pregnancies from women exposed (n = 9) and non-exposed (n = 45 full-term and n = 31 preterm) to pesticides as evaluated geographically, by questionnaire and by acetylcholinesterase levels. Placental morphometry from the central and peripheral regions was examined by microscopy and staining with hematoxylin and eosin. The placental maturity index (PMI) was estimated by dividing the number of epithelial plates in terminal villi to their thickness in 1 mm(2) of the placental parenchyma. Gestational age, birth weight and the following characteristics of the mother were also recorded: pre-pregnancy body mass index, weight gain during pregnancy and hemoglobin concentrations. Birth weight and the gestational age were correlated with PMI (r = .54 and r = .44, respectively; p < .01). Pesticide exposure was associated with a higher PMI (beta = 7.38, p = .01) after adjusting by variables related to placental maturity. In conclusion, the results suggest a relationship between prenatal exposure to pesticides and placental maturity and may potentially affect the nutrient transport from the mother to the fetus.

it says ‘it is known.’ it doesn’t say ‘we think this might be true,’ or ‘there is a correlation,’ like whats usually said, leaving some marginal room to be wrong in. in this case, theres no doubt.  ‘it is known that bad chemicals can mess up your placenta and maybe harm your baby’. that is heartbreakingly unfair for the fetus.


the dirty dozen and then some October 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — springtwist @ 9:28 pm

progress! pretty proud.

(dirty dozen list goes here)

So just how many pesticides are on these baddies? Take the first one on the list – apples. 98% of the apples that were tested had traces of pesticides. Each of these had at least two different chemicals. As a category, apples were found to have 57 different pesticides. One single sample of celery had 13 different pesticides on it alone; one single sample of grapes had 14. As a category, hot peppers contained 97 different pesticides. Every single nectarine tested had traces of chemicals. (14) The EWG notes that “picking five servings of fruits and vegetables from the 12 most contaminated would cause you to consume an average of 14 different pesticides a day,” (7, 14) but if you were to make your five servings of fruit and vegetables from the ‘clean 15’ list (see somewhere else entirely) you will be consuming less than 2 pesticides in a day (14). the EWGs message to consumers is simple: if you are concerned about pesticides on your food but you cannot afford to buy organic all the time, think about making these ‘dirty dozen’ fruits and vegetables your organic purchases, which will minimize your pesticide exposure as much as possible.

The ‘dirty dozen’ list is often criticized for looking a little bit exaggerated, and  has been accused of making these foods seem worse than they actually are in respect to contaminant levels. Critics will quickly point out that all the produce that was tested showed chemical levels within the legal allowable limits for commercial produce. They are not wrong – it’s true that all the chemicals found were at levels well within the legal limits (10). However this does not mean that the legal limits are necessarily safe. The EWG points out that while the pesticide manufacturers and produce trade groups have said that they cannot find any link between pesticides and health risks, this is in fact a statement which masks the truth. The reality is that it’s hard to find the right answers because we understand so little about these chemicals and a lot of information hasn’t become available yet. (need more sources other than the EWG own work on this one. 14)

Micro level


We come into contact with the chemicals that are used in non-organic, conventionally-farmed foods in the obvious way of consuming them along with the foods that they are contaminating. There are other ways to get a chemical into the human body however, perhaps less obvious ways like drinking and breathing them (16). Pesticides, herbicides and the chemicals that are used in fertilizers can all get into water and air as well as in our food. Of the chemicals that are sprayed onto crops, what doesn’t end up on the plant comes to rest in the soil, and eventually the groundwater, or stays in the air and drifts on the breeze, often for miles and miles.

What little we do know about the chemicals that are used in conventionally- farmed foods is that they have the potential to be dangerous and that they tend to linger around for longer than we would like. It has been proven in many instances that pesticides can be found in the human body (14, need more). Chemicals can build up in the fatty tissues in our bodies and tend to remain there for years. Some chemicals are easier for your body to naturally remove than others, but there are many which are virtually impossible to be rid of. A study done at the Chinese university of Hong Kong states that dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, better known as it’s short form DDT, can still be found in human breast milk today (16) DDT was banned from use in the US in 1972 and then banned worldwide for agricultural use soon after, but is still haunting us in present times (17). In fact, DDT wasn’t the only chemical that was found in the breast milk samples, other dioxins and organochlorines (the same chemical family that DDT comes from) were detected as well. It turns out that many chemicals that have long been prohibited for use in agricultural business are still laying low within our own bodies (16). The authors of the study say that the results show that these ‘long-gone’ chemicals are still in the food chain and are highly-persistent and not going anywhere for a long time. (Note: in some cases, it may be that the chemicals are still being used elsewhere, either in countries where they have not yet been banned for agricultural use or they are being used in other ways that are not agricultural. DDT, for example, is still being used to help control the spread of malaria in a small number of countries, so while it is no longer being used for farming, it is still present, but on a much smaller scale than it used to be. 19)