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A Fun Experiment!

Organic sweet potato with vines!

A great way to experience the difference between conventional produce and organic produce is to try a simple experiment at home - kids will especially love this fun project!

  1. Purchase 1 organic sweet potato and 1 conventionally grown (non-organic) sweet potato.

  2. Submerge 1/2 of each in a glass of water.

  3. Every day, take a look to see if any vines sprout.  Within 1-3 weeks, your organic sweet potato should produce vines that will continue to grow into "mini trees!" 

The vines will likely not grow on the conventionally grown sweet potato.  The difference lies in a chemical called "chlorpropham" (also known as bud nip) which has been sprayed onto the non-organic potato.  Bud nip is a dangerous chemical used to control grass weeds in various foods ranging from alfalfa, to carrots, cranberries, garlic, tomatoes, and other produce.

Explore more fun projects for kids!

Chlorpropham:  Why avoid this dangerous pesticide?

  • A 21-day dermal study using rabbits produced skin irritation and blood cell changes in both sexes.
  • A 60-week chronic feeding study in beagle dogs resulted in reduced body weight, anemia, and changes in thyroid function and structure.
  • Long term exposure may cause tumors.(1) 
  • In a 2-year chronic rat feeding study, body weight gain was reduced and there was destruction and loss of red blood cells.
  • A reproductive rat study showed affected growth and histopathological changes in the spleen, bone marrow, liver, and kidney.
  • One of chlorpropham's metabolites (3-chloroaniline) is structurally similar to a known cancer-causing agent, 4-chloroaniline.  The EPA believes that 3-chloroaniline is probably equally as potent and not likely to be more potent than 4-chloroaniline.

 For more information on these studies, read the EPA fact sheet on chlorpropham.

 


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