Last month, I attended two trace environmental workshops at the National Water Research Institute (CCIW) in Burlington, Ontario; the Workshop on LC-MS/MS Applications in Environmental Analysis and Food Safety and the Eastern Canada Trace Organic Workshop (ECTOW). The full program can be found here.
This was my first exposure to work done on Thermo’s Orbitrap, which appears to be a very powerful tool for non-targeted analysis when combined with UHPLC. An underlying theme of the trace analysis workshop (and Orbitrap talks) was the persistence of pharmaceuticals and pesticides wastewater effluents. This is a theme common to the conferences I attend, and I find myself wondering more and more what we can do as individuals to minimize our contribution to this developing problem.
This summer, I’ve set up raised garden beds for the first time, and I was amazed by how quickly weeds took over. The photo below was taken less than three weeks after the planter was set up. There is a sweet potato vine near the center, some carrots at the top left, and broccoli at the bottom right, but the majority of the seedlings in the open space are weed sprouts.
Walk through the garden section of your local home improvement store, or even Walmart, and you will find whole sections dedicated to Roundup and its generic variants. After spending a couple hours weeding three 4′ x 8′ vegetable beds with my wife, it is easy to see the allure of a weed killing spray.
Still, while I don’t shop for organic produce at the grocery store, it is nice to have some control over the food growing in my yard. For now, at least, I’m willing to trade an hour or two of work every couple weeks for near organic produce.