"This very common declaration [organic food excludes pesticides] is simply not true."That last point appeared to be at play in this study:
"If the risk of synthetic pesticides has been overstated by organic advocates, organic's own reliance on chemicals has been vastly understated to perpetuate a marketable image that what's going on in organic agriculture is "all natural."
"[Organic growers] might refer to [pest-control chemicals] as "botanical extracts" or "biorationals," but according to Ned Groth, a senior scientist at Consumers Union, these toxins "are not necessarily less worrisome because they are natural."
"The fact that these botanicals break down so rapidly means that they have to be applied in heavier doses and more often than synthetic compounds."
Effect of Botanical Insecticides the New York Apple Pest Complex
Where the authors concluded:
"A question that arises from doing this type of research is whether the organic approach is more environmentally sound than an IPM* approach using soft chemicals. Does 6 applications of rotenone-pyrethrin have less impact on the environment than 2 Imidan applications? These questions need to be addressed if botanical insecticides are continued to be allowed in organic certifiable programs."Rotenone and pyrethrin are organic pesticides but are very toxic to honeybees as well as other non-target insects. According to McWilliams, pyrethrin is also toxic to some fish (bluegill, trout) and birds such as mallards. He notes the EPA classifies the organic pesticide pyrethrin as a "likely human carcinogen."
*Integrated Pest Management