Chinese Herbs: Health Remedy or Pesticides Cocktail?
By Eric Darier
Traditional Chinese herbs have a strong reputation for their medicinal benefits, but a Greenpeace East Asia investigation has revealed that these herbs are coated in a toxic cocktail of pesticide residues, posing long-term health risks instead.
In China, these herbal products are extensively used in daily cooking and are part of the country's culinary heritage. Many people add ginseng, red dates or chrysanthemums, for example, to their soups or tea to cure various health problems.
These herbs are also consumed outside China by people looking for alternative medicines in a global market estimated to be worth US$60 billion annually and growing swiftly.
In its report, Greenpeace East Asia explains how it tested 65 samples of Chinese herbal products and found them to be coated in pesticide residues—some of them banned in China.
Many herbal products are cultivated using chemical-intensive agriculture methods and are no longer picked in the wild—another example of the dominant chemical-based industrial agriculture system and its failure to deliver toxic-free foods.
Some of the pesticides detected in the Greenpeace East Asia investigation are considered "highly hazardous" by the World Health Organization (WHO). Some herbal products had residue levels that would breach European food safety standards.
The WHO and European authorities have already ranked or banned some pesticides because of indications that exposure to some of them via food poses health risks due to bioaccumulation in the body. Chronic pesticide poisoning may lead to learning difficulties, hormone disruption and reproductive abnormalities.
Greenpeace champions ecological farming as a more environmentally and human friendly solution to industrial agriculture, and opposes the widespread industrial agriculture model that damages the environment with toxic chemicals and poses threats to human health.
Ecological farming does not rely on chemical pesticides but on natural pest management techniques, rotation and diverse cropping to ensure healthy, nutritious and sufficient food for people while protecting our environment, water and wildlife from toxic poisoning.
Greenpeace East Asia is urging the Chinese government to impose stricter supervision and control of illegal pesticides, provide clear pesticides reduction timelines and commit to a road map to fully phase out chemical pesticides in agriculture. Additionally, we call on the Chinese authorities to divert financial funding towards more ecological farming practices.
We must walk this ecological path now to preserve the future of traditional herbal medicine and food production in China and globally. The challenge to switch to ecological farming and away from chemicals-based agriculture is one that all governments need to embrace.
Visit EcoWatch’s FOOD page for more related news on this topic.
France moved one step closer this weekend to banning short-haul flights in an attempt to fight the climate crisis.
- Could a Tax on International Travel Fund a Country's Response to ... ›
- Most People in the UK Back Limits on Flying to Tackle Climate Crisis ... ›
- To Fly or Not to Fly? The Environmental Cost of Air Travel - EcoWatch ›
Four gray whales have washed up dead near San Francisco within nine days, and at least one cause of death has been attributed to a ship strike.
- Drones Capture Stunning Footage of Humpback and Gray Whales ... ›
- Ninth Gray Whale in Two Months Washes Up Dead in Bay Area ... ›
- As Extreme Weather Events Increase, What Are the Risks to Wildlife? ›
- 'Existential Threat to Our Survival': See the 19 Australian ... ›
- Cyclone Harold Batters Fiji, Tonga Could Be Next - EcoWatch ›
- 2 Killed, Thousands Evacuated as Cyclone Yesa Slams Fiji ... ›
By Rishika Pardikar
Search operations are still underway to find those declared missing following the Uttarakhand disaster on 7 February 2021.
Biden Refuses to Shut Down Dakota Access Pipeline, Despite Campaign Pledges on Tribal Relations and Climate
By Jessica Corbett
Indigenous leaders and climate campaigners on Friday blasted President Joe Biden's refusal to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline during a court-ordered environmental review, which critics framed as a betrayal of his campaign promises to improve tribal relations and transition the country to clean energy.
- After Court Rules Dakota Access Pipeline Operating Illegally, Dems ... ›
- Environmentalists Applaud Biden Selections of Granholm, McCarthy ... ›
- Biden Urged to 'Honor Indigenous Sovereignty and Immediately Halt ... ›