A new report claims that organic farming methods could increase pesticide use by hundreds of millions of pounds per year.

The Hudson Institute’s Center for Global Food Issues says that even a marginal increase of land placed under organic farming methods could result in significant increases in use of persistent and toxic “organic” pesticides such as sulfur, copper and other natural chemicals.

“The myth that organic farming is toxics-free should be buried forever. The American public has been misled through poor reporting and aggressive marketing schemes to believe organic is ‘pesticide- free’ and safer for human and ecological health,” said Alex Avery, the report’s author.

“At this moment of critical debate about the health and environmental benefits of conventional farming and genetically improved crops, organic farming is being promoted as the ideal alternative. The reality is organic is less understood, untested and potentially riskier for both people and the environment,” said Avery.

The report, “Nature’s Toxic Tools: The Organic Myth of Pesticide- Free Farming,” concludes that:

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— Organic pesticides are the most heavily used pesticides in the US

— One organic insecticide accounts for more than half of all US insecticide use

— One organic fungicide accounts for more than half of all US fungicide use

— Switching to all organic production would result in up to a 700% increase in US fungicide use

— An all-organic mandate would lead to a massive increase in soil erosion and reduced sustainability

— US regulators have no information at all on the use of most organic pesticides, despite the fact that millions of pounds of these toxic pesticides are used in the United States every year

The report is available at the Center for Global Food Issues’ web site. To visit this site, click here.