Pesticide residues are implicated in harming the brain, reducing IQ, causing cancer and harming the reproductive system a report for the European Parliament found in 2017. Pesticides cost the EU at least £125 billion a year in lost lifetime income from such damage. People, especially pregnant women and children, should consider eating organic.
A 2017 report from the UN shows that pesticides kill 200,000 people a year from acute poisoning as well as being linked to cancer, sterility, Alzheimers and Parkinson disease. Pesticides kill pollinators like bees, harm the environment and are not needed to feed the world. The report highlighted the chemical industry's 'systemic denial of harms' and 'unethical marketing tactics'.
Most GM crops are designed to be sprayed with weedkiller, usually Roundup (glyphosate). The WHO's International Agency into Research on Cancer (IARC) assessed the published, peer-reviewed scientific literature on this chemical and found it to be a 'probable carcinogen'. The industry has mounted an extreme campaign to discredit and defund the IARC. If glyphosate was banned then most GM crops would need to be withdrawn too. Monsanto, the developer of glyphosate, is being sued in the US by farmers and others who claim to have developed cancer because they used the chemical. The lawsuit has revealed documents suggesting that Monsanto manipulated the science, and scientists and colluded with an offical in the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure the dangers of glyphosate were hidden and to allow the sale of it to continue.
Roundup (glyphosate) is increasingly being sprayed on crops like wheat and pulses just before harvest to 'dry' them. It is allowed to be sprayed on wheat, canola, chickpeas, faba beans, lentils, mung beans, field peas, adzuki beans, cow peas, lupins, pigeon peas, vetch and soybeans. .
National Toxics Network researches the use of chemicals in Australia.
Friends of the Earth has developed a pesticide map showing what has been detected where, the possible health consequences and when they have been detected in food.
Organic agriculture works within natural systems and avoids the use of pesticides.
Many farmers may grow organically or nearly organically but have not applied for certification. You would need to ask them about their farming practices to decide whether to buy their products or not.
There are several organic certifiers in Australia:
There are also foreign certifiers:
Buy organic food, shop from people you trust or grow your own chemical-free food.