September 20, 2012

Letters to the editor: Organic food good for overall health

A front-page story on Sept. 6, "Studies reveal raw truths on organic foods," detailing a study released Sept. 4 by two Stanford doctors that compares organic with conventional farming, is hardly front-page news and is misleading at best.

click image to enlarge

Organic foods like these melons at a Portland farmers market are chosen by many who want to avoid toxins.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

The review of 236 research papers, 17 studies and six random clinical trials claims to show little statistical difference in the nutritional value of growing methods.

I wonder where and when these papers and studies were done, who financed them and why levels of toxins were not included.

When choosing food these days, we are forced to choose between expensive "clean" food (organic) or conventionally grown food that can be laden with toxic levels of pesticides, fertilizer and unlabeled GMO foods that have had their DNA altered with bacteria and other species.

Monsanto, Dow, Bayer and BASF have all asked for approval of Round-Up-ready seeds that contain bacteria to keep the plant from dying when it is sprayed with Round-Up insecticide.

But industry studies from the 1980s (including one actually paid for by Monsanto) show that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Round-Up, has been proven to cause birth defects.

We choose organic not just for our health, but for the health of our children and the planet.

We are not fooled by questionable "studies" even if they are given misleading titles and put on the front page.

Elizabeth Kellett


Kevin Battle would serve South Portland voters well

The voters of South Portland have an opportune time to elect to the Maine House of Representatives a time-tested, hardworking, honest community servant this fall.

Kevin Battle has always answered the call in South Portland and his country as well. He served 22 years combined active and reserve duty in the Coast Guard, 27 years as a South Portland police officer and currently serves as deputy harbormaster for the Port of Portland.

He is a three-term president of the South Portland Lions Club. Through the years, Battle has been involved with several community charities, including Camp Sunshine, the Boys & Girls Club, the American Cancer Society, Project DARE and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Battle and his wife have been married more than 30 years and have two sons.

If elected to the House of Representatives, he would like to reduce taxes, provide schools with the resources they need and encourage business-friendly governmental practices.

Patrick Eisenhart


Teachers deserve thanks, not the disrespect they get

Hard times in our country. People and budgets everywhere stressed. Some elected officials use our difficulties as a reason to vilify public employees, particularly teachers, or so it seems to me.

I have a grandson who just entered Mahoney Middle School in South Portland. A couple of weeks ago I attended an open house at Mahoney, listened to introductions in the auditorium, then went around to classrooms with him and his family to meet his teachers. I was both pleased and impressed with the caring, creativity and enthusiasm I detected in each of these teachers.

This same grandson spent the previous two years, fourth and fifth grades, at Brown Elementary in South Portland. During this time I met with his teachers on a number of occasions, was impressed with their dedication and believe they did an excellent job.

Some few professions offer the possibility to give such life-changing help, guidance, enthusiasm and learning to others. It is such an honorable and important profession.

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