Conventional flowers can harbor pesticide residues in quantities dozens of times greater than is permissible on food. Most stems sold in the United States are imported from South America, where farm worker safety laws and pesticide regulations (including DDT) aren’t as rigorous.
Flowers in the fields
Even U.S. industrial flower farms use chemicals such as mancozeb, a known carcinogen, and methyl bromide, which causes significant ozone depletion. Once the flowers are harvested, no regulations exist to limit the quantities of these chemicals in bouquets.
Organic petal pushers
Health food stores such as Whole Foods and Wild Oats sell organic blooms. Online organic flower vendors such as OrganicBouquet.com are also an option. During summer, choose locally, organically grown stems at your farmer’s market.