Photographer: Ivan Kashinsky Smithsonian magazine, February 2011

Flower Growing Industry

"A 1981 survey of almost 9,000 flower workers by scientists from Colombia, France and Britain found that the work had exposed people to as many as 127 different chemicals, mostly fungicides and pesticides. (One incentive to use pesticides: the U.S. Department of Agriculture checks imported flowers for insects, but not for chemical residues.) A 1990 study by Colombia’s National Institute of Health (NIH) suggested that pregnant Colombian flower workers exposed to pesticides might have higher rates of miscarriages, premature births and babies with congenital defects."
"The Secrets Behind Your Flowers" by John McQuaid, Smithsonian magazine, February 2011.

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Certainly we should be very concerned about the workers' exposure to chemicals, but we should also wonder about the consumer.  There is an alternative, of course, and that is to buy certified flowers.  Places like Whole Foods carry them, and there is a great online florist:

There is another great website where you can actually plug in your zip code, and a list of organic flower growers will come up.  Plug in your zip code - never know what you'll find!

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