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Letter: Group says pesticide use is a problem in Minnesota, asks RDO to cut usage

Potato giant RD Offutt Company has announced its plans to to sell French fries at this year’s Hubbard County Fair and donate the proceeds to the 4-H again this year.

Last year the multi-million dollar corporation raised over $2,000 from fair-goers through this fundraising effort. This year, local grassroots group Toxic Taters is asking some big questions about the effort.

In May of this year, Toxic Taters worked with Pesticide Action Network and other allied organizations to present Kids on the Frontline: How Pesticides Are Undermining the Health of Rural Children, PAN’s new national report highlighting the latest scientific evidence about the impact of pesticides on children’s health.

Toxic Taters hosted local events in Park Rapids and Pine Point. The report summarized growing scientific research connecting pesticide exposure to increases in childhood cancers and neurological disorders such as autism spectrum disorders.

Children in rural areas like Hubbard County are exposed to a “double dose” of pesticides: in addition to pesticide food residues facing all children, rural kids are exposed to agricultural pesticides in the air, water, and dust in their communities.

While direct correlations to pesticide exposure cannot often be confirmed, Toxic Taters expressed concerns that Minnesota has higher rates than the national average for leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and overall childhood cancers, as well as a higher-than-average number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.