Steve Savage: What We Have NOT Recently Learned About Pesticide Risk

A few weeks ago, the readers of various ‘Food Movement’ and ‘Health’ blogs (and unfortunately some news sources) were treated to a major dose of fear mongering.  It had to do with an old agricultural fungicide that was tested at an extremely high, non-contextual dosage in a scientific study that looked at ‘chemical effects on epigenetic change.’  What the study demonstrated was interesting, but its interpretation in various circles has been completely out of context.  For example, self-described ‘Health Ranger,’ Mike Adams of Natural News started off with the headline: 

‘Red alert for humanity: Chemical damage can be inherited by offspring through unlimited generations’

Under the section heading, ‘Why chemicals threaten the future of the human species,’ Adams concludes:’  we are, in essence, ChemHumans, forever imprinted with the toxic burden of all the tens of thousands of synthetic chemicals we have foolishly unleashed onto our world, our environment and food supply’.   

What inspired this sort of ‘the sky is falling’ rant?  A classic failure to put a scientific finding into any sort of rational perspective.


Thus begins a typically robust analysis by Steve Savage, proprietor of the very suitably titled Applied Mythology. Steve’s “About me” reads:

Steve Savage is an agricultural scientist (plant pathology) with >30 years of experience in agricultural technology. He has worked for Colorado State University, DuPont (fungicide development), Mycogen (biocontrol development), and for the past 13 years as an independent. He also has a little vineyard in his back yard near San Diego. 

Fortunately for us he is willing to invest the time to educate us who are outsiders to the field. My recommendation is simply to get yourself over to Applied Mythology – every article I have read has been well worth my time. As soon as I have time I’ll be posting links to a few articles that were especially useful to me.

If you are still not motivated to join Steve’s readership, I will quote his tagline:

What if much that you think you know about agriculture, farming and food isn’t actually true? What if there are “myths” that have been intentionally and mostly unintentionally spread about these issues? What if the truth about these issues matters for the future of humanity? That is what this blog is about.

A perfect example is Its What You Know For Sure That Keeps You From Learning.