Organic. The word inspires images of fresh produce, clean living and a healthy lifestyle. But that’s about to change: earlier this year, the New York Times reported that the contents of barrels that sickened US soldiers in Iraq during 2003 contained benzenamine 3,4 dimethyl - an organic compound with multiple industrial uses.
This is just one of the ways that our perception of associating organics with health is shifting. A 2010 report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest described how consumers think foods with ‘organic’ labels are healthier when, in fact, they often are not. It’s the reason why, for example, so many people break out in rashes after using pure essential oils - we’ve started to question what ‘organic’-ness is, and we’re starting to realize that just because something is organic, it doesn’t mean it’s safe.
Organic foods have to come from animals that were raised with room to graze and without the use of hormones or antibiotics, which have created human health concerns, including the development of antibiotic resistance. Produce has to be grown without fertilizer or pesticides, the use of which may increase the risk of cancer and other diseases.
Recently, I was listening to someone talk about the helpful medicinal products found in the Amazon forest, and how pharmaceuticals were investing in researching natural products there. But now, new labs are now producing products that are much safer, so they’ve pulled their research from natural resources and are dedicating their time to creating safe products in-house. In general, I would caution you to be wary of dedicating yourself to the organic lifestyle - I know it’s incredibly challenging when it’s meant to reassure you of it’s safety and quality, but be aware that it may not always be the best option.