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Give Your Mom Organic Flowers Because It's Safer

If you're planning to surprise your Mom or sweetheart with a bouquet of flowers for Mother's Day, a birthday or any other Hallmark-inspired holiday, you'll want to avoid most of the cut flowers sold in most grocery stores and flower shops for one very important reason: Cultivating and growing these beautiful blooms is one of the most pesticide-intensive processes known to man.

Because flowers are considered such a high-value crop, according to the Pesticide Action Network, to make them look and smell attractive requires a huge amount of pesticides. Among the goodies to which you and your loved ones could be exposed:

  • Insecticides
  • Fungicides
  • Growth regulators
  • Fumigation chemicals like methyl bromide

If you aren't all that concerned about that brief "holiday" exposure, I urge you to think twice about it. Studies have demonstrated the disastrous effect of pesticides on growers in Ecuador and Columbia where close to 80 percent of this nation's cut flowers are produced. In Ecuador alone, some 60 percent of flower workers demonstrated symptoms of poisoning.

The alternative to that pesticide-laden bouquet? Some are opting for organic flowers, an $8 million market in 2003 that's predicted to grow by 13 percent annually over the next three years.

One caveat: Few popular flowers like sunflowers are easily grown organically. Roses, according to one expert, are especially tough and orchids and carnations are impossible.

When it comes to buying flowers, just like the healthy foods you should be eating, it's no great surprise organic trumps conventional hands down.

USA Today May 5, 2005

Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 110, Number 5, May 2002 Free Full-Text Article

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