> Why? Just like vitamins: it doesn't matter if a plant made a given

> compound, or a chemist. If a compound affects how a fungus

> synthesizes its cell wall by inhibiting an enzyme only the

> threatening plant fungus produces, how is this going to affect

> you?


> Please refer to some of the latest opinions of Dr Bruce Aimes, the


An oft-cited problem with Aimes's conclusions is the observation that we

co-evolved with the plants whose natural toxins he talks about. As a

result, there are reasons to believe that our bodies are much better

adapted to dealing with them compared to the novel, potent toxins that

chemists have introduced.


Aimes's favourite policy conclusion -- that chemical-intensive farming

produces more vegetables at a lower price, and that the benefits of the

vegetables themselves outweighs the costs from the man-made chemicals --

is compelling. OTOH, his frequent corollary to this -- that organic

farming is wasteful/bad -- makes little sense. If people in a rich

society would like to spend a few extra dollars a week to have safer food,

they certainly should to it. So what if eliminating the human-made toxins

leaves a lot of natural toxins -- it is still better to do without them.


I also wonder if the bio-accumulation of toxins in milk and meat, that has

been cited for human-made chemicals, is similar for the naturally occurring

chemicals. I would tend to guess that it is (Annie can probably tell us

for sure). If so, then the observation that plants make their own toxins

is yet another reason to prefer plants to milk, since the plants

themselves will have fewer plant-derived toxins per consumption unit.


--Carl Phillips PhD

U of Michigan SPH