Don’t poison yourself: Avoid foods with high pesticide residues

Is it worth to pay $3.49 for the organic strawberries while the non-organics are a bargain at $2.49?

Are there foods I should avoid because they have high pesticide residues?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) state that pesticide residues left in or on food are safe and non-toxic and have no health consequences. I have my doubts! Human beings accumulate pesticides just like tuna fish accumulates mercury—frequent ingesting of very low levels of pesticides residue may result in long term harmful effects and these long term risks have not been assessed. Most pesticides are toxic chemicals and were developed to kill agricultural pests — living organisms. The actual risk for chronic low level exposure is probably unknown; since, the EPA pesticide residue limits are a political compromise between scientific findings and lobbying from agricultural and chemical industries (Portney, 1992).

Organic diets expose consumers to fewer pesticides associated with human disease (Forman et al, 2012).  In addition, preliminary studies have shown that GMO foods such as soy, potatoes, bananas and raisins reduces longevity, fertility and starvation tolerance in fruit flies (Chhabra et al, 2013)

Adopt the precautionary principle. As much as possible avoid the following foods that have high levels of residual pesticides as identified by the Environmental Working Group in their 2014 report.

Apples

Strawberries

Grapes

Celery

Peaches

Spinach

Sweet bell peppers

Nectarines-imported

Cucumbers

Cherry tomatoes

Snap peas-imported

Potatoes

Hot peppers

Blueberries-domestic

Lettuce

Kale/collard greens

For more details, see the Environmental Working Group report for the rankings of 48 foods listed from worst to best.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BfNQGd9BTK0

References:

Chhabra R, Kolli S, Bauer JH (2013) Organically Grown Food Provides Health Benefits to Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS ONE 8(1): e52988. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052988  http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0052988

Forman, J., Silverstein, J., Bhatia, J. J., Abrams, S. A., Corkins, M. R., de Ferranti, S. D., … & Wright, R. O. (2012). Organic foods: health and environmental advantages and disadvantages. Pediatrics, 130(5), e1406-e1415.

Portney, P. R. (1992). The determinants of pesticide regulation: A statistical analysis of EPA decision making. The Journal of Political Economy, 100(1), 175-197.

 



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