When you think about fruits and vegetables, usually you think about how good they are for our bodies. Not only do they add color to our plates, they are also key sources of vital nutrients and vitamins.
But the unfortunate truth is that sometimes the fruits and veggies we consume could harm us. Pesticides can be found on the food we eat and many of them can have harmful effects on the body. Based on its analysis of the USDA’s pesticide residue testing data, Environmental Working Group compiled a list of 48 of the most popular fruits and vegetables and ranked them by how much pesticide residue was found. The results are startling. Apples were the top-ranked fruit while celery was the top-ranked vegetable.
So what are these dangerous pesticides and what can they do to our bodies? Read on to learn more about four of the most common:
Organophosphates. As Care2.com explains, these neurotoxins were used as nerve agents during WWI. Today they’re one of the most “commonly-used class of pesticides.” They affect the body’s nervous system.
Thiabendozole. What’sOnMyFood.org is a great source of information on pesticides and the foods on which they’re found. For example, you’ll learn from the site that thiabendozole is the most prevalent toxic pesticide found on apples. It’s a developmental or reproductive toxin and may be carcinogenic.
Glyphosphate. Popularly used by Monsanto, as OrganicAuthority.com informs, this pesticide is carcinogenic, can cause birth defects and fertility issues, and even neurological disorders.
Imidacloprid. If you’re thinking that you can just thoroughly wash your produce to avoid these chemicals, unfortunately, that won’t do the trick. In fact, some pesticides, such as imidacloprid, are “systemic,” meaning they enter a plant through its roots and then spread throughout the plant. As Pesticide Action Network explains, you can’t wash them away and because of that they pose a high dietary risk.
Learning about these pesticides is scary, but don’t give up on fruits and vegetables. Not all of them pose a high pesticide risk. EWG also compiled a list of the “cleanest” produce. It includes avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, cabbage, and more.
To reduce the risk that you and your family will consume harmful pesticides, consider buying organic produce. For a piece of produce to be labeled “organic” by the USDA, it can’t have been grown using synthetic pesticides. Another option is to buy from your local farmer’s market. That way you can learn directly from the farmers what chemicals were used to grow their crops.
Where is the nearest farmer’s market to you? Make plans to visit one this weekend!