From: Paul Schaefer, ENN
Published December 19, 2007 11:46 AM

Holiday Flowers, Without Pesticides

Los Angeles - Celebrating the holidays with flowers is inspired and wonderful, but poisoning the people who grow and prepare the flowers is not. No one does it intentionally. But what many consumers don't know is that the floral business often puts the health of the people who grow those flowers at risk.


Sherene Hulugalle, who owns Wisteria Lane, a southern California-based florist, is leading the crusade to change this. She's creating customized floral arrangements and floral décor made exclusively with Certified Organic and Veriflora flowers. Hulugalle, Wisteria Lane's owner and floral designer, hands picks the growers who supply her with flowers. “My diligent research on the suppliers I use helps me to be sure that the farmers I do business with do not expose their workers to harmful pesticides and are paid fairly,” said Hulugalle.

Organic and Veriflora flowers are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable, and are continually checked for product integrity. Potential health effects from pesticides vary depending on which pesticides you are exposed to. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “organophosphates and carbamates affect the nervous system. Others may irritate the skin or eyes. Some pesticides may be carcinogens. Others may affect the hormone or endocrine system in the body.” The organic Trade Association (OTA) links various pesticides to fetal death, diabetes, autism Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

Kathleen Fackelman at “USA Today” reports that “Past exposure to low levels of pesticides that linger in the environment might accelerate the development of Parkinson's, which would put baby boomers and millions of other aging Americans at risk of developing the brain disease earlier in life.” For people with allergies or chemical sensitivities, sending them conventionally grown flowers can cause asthma attacks and rashes. Thousands of pesticides are produced and it is challenging to determine which chemical may cause reactions (Medical University of South Carolina). You never know if someone you are sending may have a negative reaction to pesticides. Sending organic flowers reduce this risk. 

Conscious consumers are increasingly purchasing organic products, as they prove to be of equal or outstanding quality when compared to other products. Many people are surprised to learn that organic flowers are no exception and cost only 2 to 5 percent more than conventionally grown flowers. The Wisteria Lane owner is excited to help create awareness of this so that other florists can begin to demand that more farmers use eco-friendly means to produce flowers.

Hulugalle was born in Kandy, Sri Lanka and worked as a human rights worker. During her humanitarian work she documented atrocities that were taking place during a civil war in her native country, despite the enormous fear of reprisal. Her passion to awaken this concern for how human beings treat each other is what motivates her to be involved and affiliated with organizations such as Heal the Bay, Doctors Without Borders, RideOn and City Hearts: Kids Say Yes to the Arts. A portion of the proceeds from each sale of Wisteria Lane’s eco-friendly arrangements are contributed to the associated organization of the client’s choice.

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