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Articles by Audrey Schulman

Audrey Schulman is the author of the novels The Cage, Swimming with Jonah, and A House Named Brazil.

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Three years ago, while my extended family was vacationing at my dad’s cranberry farm, he mentioned that one of his fields would be sprayed that evening. There were five children under 10 in the house, and I was eight months pregnant. The field was 100 feet away. I asked my dad about the pesticides, but he said, “Don’t worry. The government runs tests on the chemicals. They make sure they’re safe.”

The truth is plane to see.

Photo: iStockphoto.

That night, through a closed window, I watched the plane rumble low over the field, the fog behind it drizzling softly to the ground. Behind me, in the house, the kids laughed and called, playing hide-and-seek. I started wondering about these tests.

I decided to do a little research. According to the U.S. EPA, about 5 billion pounds of pesticides were used in the U.S. in 2001. And researchers estimate only 1 to 2 percent of agricultural applications reach their target pest. Not surprisingly, these toxins can be found in almost every stream — and in most Americans’ bloodstreams.

This country’s heavy reliance on synthe... Read more

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