Oh Rose, thou art sick! wrote William Blake. He probably wasn't thinking of the toxic rose industry, but hopefully you will. Please don't add to the suffering when you express your love this Valentine's Day.
The 200 million rose stems that arrive in the U.S. for Valentine's Day each year require tons of pesticides, and it's estimated that some 20 percent of the chemicals used are illegal here. A 2007 study by the International Labor Rights Fund found that more than 66 percent of Ecuadorian and Colombian flower workers were plagued by work-related health problems — including skin rashes, respiratory problems, and eye problems — due to toxic pesticides and fungicides. ILRF also found that "flower workers experience higher-than-average rates of premature births, congenital malformations and miscarriages." It's also bad in the U.S. The U.S. floriculture industry is one of the heaviest users of pesticides in all of agriculture. Some of the highest-use pesticides in California's floral industry, for example, include methyl bromide, a hazardous chemical that is also a top ozone-depleter; acephate, an organophosphate neurotoxin hazardous to humans and highly toxic to bees; and chlorothalonil, a carcinogen.
If you give roses, please buy organic: One online source is ORGANICBOUQUET.COM