3 Ways To Get Pesticide-Free Flowers (And Why It's So Important)
Let's be real, everyone loves flowers. From Mother's Day to Valentine's Day to just-thinking-of-you, flowers are a great way to show someone you care. But there's a little more behind it than just finding the perfect bouquet. Have you ever gotten a headache from being around flowers and just assumed that you were allergic? That might not actually be the case. Research says that the cause could be a reaction to the chemical residue present on flowers from pesticides used during growth. Crazy! Flower growers tend to use some of the highest amounts of pesticides because the regulations for insects during transit are so strict. Not wanting insects on our pretty bouquets makes sense, but is really worth the price of toxin exposure?
The average time between cutting flowers and marketing them is just 24 hours, so the pesticide residue is super fresh. The U.S. Department of Agriculture only checks for insects, not for pesticide residue. The two chemicals routinely used in U.S. flower growing are chlorothalonil and mancozeb, which are categorized as “likely” human carcinogens by the EPA. What the what?! AND, if the flowers are shipping internationally, they may have been treated by U.S. banned pesticides or chemicals, due to lax pesticide regulations. There’s no way to really know. High levels on pesticides can also poison groundwater, threaten the health of farmworkers, and poison pollinators, like bees. EEK!
Fortunately, there is a way to make sure your loved one get the safest, fresh gift.
Buy Local & Specialty
Buying local and specialty is always the best option, if possible. Just like food! Buy flowers that are native to your area, so they grow easily and are already adapted to your climate. These flowers need less help growing making it easier for growers not to use pesticides. Generally, most flowers that aren't roses, carnations, and mums, are less likely to be grown in high pesticide situations. BONUS: the average bouquet travels 1,500 miles before it reaches your loved one, so you are saving a huge carbon footprint when you buy local.
Check out the local organic options available in your area or your loved one's and make your dollar count even more by supporting growers that opt out of using possibly carcinogenic chemicals.
Grow Your Own
Growing your own cut flowers can give you year round bouquets for all your friends and family. Not to mention, a great way to get outside and enjoy something that you grew without any toxins, environmental pollution, large travel distance, or harm to pollinators. In fact, you’ll be creating more ways for pollinators to thrive!