KKCO 11 News | April 7, 2015 | By Sara Zendehnam
PALISADE, Colo. A vacation to the U.S. Virgin Islands lands a family of four in the hospital in critical condition. The father was unconscious and the mother – along with their two kids – were having seizures when found in a villa, according to CNN.
The cause of the sudden illness is being linked to possible pesticide exposure in the room. These chemicals can lead to serious health effects according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is why Palisade farmer Steven Sherer chooses not to use them on his crops.
As a certified organic orchard, Aloha Organic Fruit follows strict rules, “We are not allowed [to use] herbicides, there’s no GMO, there’s no insecticides and there’s no pesticides,” said owner Steven Sherer.
Sherer’s orchard is inspected by the Colorado Department of Agriculture every year to ensure he’s avoiding these chemicals, he has to fill out forms and pay fees before he gets to label his peaches, nectarines and cherries as organic.
The work doesn’t stop there. Instead of using an herbicide, which he could use to spray his trees in a matter of minutes, Sherer and his team shovel out the weeds themselves.
“This all is done by hand around the trees it takes two guys a whole day to do one or two rows of trees. The labor is considerably more with organic,” said Sherer.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the health effects of pesticides include: damaging the nervous system, irritating the skin or eyes, affecting the hormone system, and even causing cancer.
While Sherer said he tries to stay away from these chemicals in his own diet he admits he’s eaten non-organic fruit before, but still has a suggestion for the community, “I think it’s important to eat as healthy as you possibly can.”