I don't mean to alarm you but.....
I'd like to give you a personal account of chemicals and your food.
There is a local farmer I know and to his credit he is trying some alternative methods in agriculture but his farm which has been owned for five or six generations also still uses chemicals and he likes to point out, and rightly so, there are chemicals and there are chemicals.
(I should point out these are not his sheep they are merely for decorative illustration of our purposes and blog ascetics.)
The shearer is pretty sensitive to smell and even more so that we are chemical free at home and in garden. The more chemicals, and even scents, regardless of how natural they are, will cause a degree of loss to your sense of smell. Again, the old adage, all things in moderation.
He was shearing the other week and as the sheep passed from the shearers they were penned below the shed where farm workers were spraying the sheep with a systemic chemical. It's important that sheep be treated for lice and fly strike. As the wind gusted it blew the chemical and the shearer certainly smelt it and was aware of slight tingling about his mouth and nostrils.
When he raised the issue with the farmer he was treated in a very off hand manner ( "I can't smell it" )and when he was pressed for the chemical specs was handed the torn off label from the bucket. As far as the farmer was concerned it was completely safe and if the shearer didn't like it he was free to leave.
Well of course everyone is free to leave but regardless of who you are as an employer, you have a duty of care and that is the law, but I'm not getting into that in this post.
The shearer brought home the label and looked up the specs. What the farmer didn't know is that the shearer has had a lot of chemical handling training. He wasn't looking up anything anecdotal, he only accessed the company's specification sheet. It turns out that this "perfectly safe" chemical is incredibly toxic to a huge range of animal species but particularly to water/marine animals and carries special warnings to prevent the chemical entering any water ways or run offs. The sheep must be withheld for a minimum of two months before butchering and the wool must not be handled for a minimum of six months. The fact that it is systemic means that it is taken into the system. Protective clothing and eye wear are supposed to be worn and the area well ventilated.
The farmer's own son was spraying this chemical on without protection.
Now my point is this....
Chemicals like insecticides are sometimes necessary in our mono-agri businesses and I think Australia does a pretty good job with the regulations BUT what is the point if those using the chemicals don't know what they are using or how to administer them. The scientists have done the tests and the math and come up with the with holding periods and the danger points but it is only as safe as the user who reads it.
If a well known and well educated property owner can be so ignorant can we have faith that the food is safe?
I don't mean to add another notch to your paranoia but I encourage you to try to understand the source of your food and grow as much as you can. Always question and do not follow like sheep just because the guy up front says it's safe. Just because a chemical doesn't have an overwhelming smell doesn't make it safe. And I certainly don't want my man working in a hazardous chemical environment.
This goes for the ordinary householder too. Please for your family's sake try to avoid chemicals and if you can't please be absolutely sure of what you are doing and read ALL the directions including how to dispose of equipment.