The most research on this subject has been done by the organization called the Environmental Working Group or EWG. This organization is made up of scientists, researchers, engineers, policy experts, lawyers, and computer experts who perform their own laboratory tests and research. Their main goal is to examine and alert the public to health threats that may impact you or your children. They developed a Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides which is based on over 87,000 tests on produce in the years between 2000 and 2007. It is important for you to research their site and information to get educated on this subject. This information will open up your eyes to what you are exposing you and your children to in your daily diet. Their website is located at http://www.foodnews.org .
According to the EWG research, the fruit with the highest pesticide problems are peaches, celery, apples, sweet bell peppers, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, pears and strawberries. In over 90 percent of each fruit category tested, they found heavy pesticide and chemical contamination. How often do your kids eat fruit that was not properly washed? I would imagine it happens often. I see kids in the supermarket snacking on the fruit while waiting in the check out lane. If they are hungry, the fruit gets sampled in the car on the way home. This is a common problem in most households.
What can you do to protect you and your children?
Buy Organic: The most important step you can take is to buy locally grown, organic fruit. There is a Certified Farmer’s Market in almost every community. These fresh produce stands are wonderful places to get great fresh, organic fruit and vegetables. The vendors are required to be certified organic to sell their produce there. Farmers Markets are a great way to support your local farmers and families. Where ever you buy your fruit, ask the farmer if his produce is organic. Inquire if he is a certified organic grower. To be certified organic, the farmer must adhere to stringent rules in the growing of his produce. They can not use pesticides in the soil or during the growing process. They are not allowed to use pesticides to control plant diseases and bugs either.
Organic fruit and vegetables cost more but you pay for what you get. You pay less for standard produced fruit but you pay with pesticide contaminated food. I remember years ago, I brought home produce leftovers from a supermarket. I washed the leaves first as well as I could. I fed them to my chickens. The next morning they were nearly dead. I realized then and this was in 2000 how contaminated our produce is. I never did that again.
Wash your fruit properly: First of all fruit is picked from orchards where pesticides were sprayed at various levels of growth. There are pesticides and chemicals in the soil they were grown in as well. Do you realize how many people have handled your fruit before you eat it? It is picked by field hands, loaded into dirty trucks, then taken to a warehouse somewhere days later, and finally ends up in your familiar produce section. Most people think that simply washing your fruit removes the contamination but that is not the truth. It does reduce the pesticide residue found on your fruit but not completely. There are vegetable fruit washes that do a better job than plain water. Some fruit wash products are of poor quality and not worth the money. Investigate the product first.
Proper Produce Washing Steps Include: Wash your hands, kitchen counter and utensils; wash fruit and veggies completely just before you use them so that they last longer; wash all your solid fruits and veggies with a vegetable brush; wash all fruits and vegetables even if they state on the package they are pre-washed; Remove the outer leaves on lettuce and cabbage.
Pesticides Do Cause Ill Health: Know that pesticides even in low levels are dangerous and a causative factor in ill health. A study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that people who have been exposed to low levels of pesticides were found to be more likely to get Parkinson’s disease. Pesticide contamination is indicated in ADD, ADHD, allergies, stomach problems, headaches and other health problems.