Pesticides are such a natural feature of modern-living that we take them for granted. We might hear how dangerous they are, but more often than not, we simply choose to ignore these warnings or conveniently put them at the least of our concerns. Environmentalists constantly warn us that these chemicals we use to control, repel or kill pests and is commonly used on all food crops, including fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, peaches, grapes, cherries, strawberries, potatoes and spinach are highly toxic and dangerous to our health and that of our children. Still we take no heed.
If you are reading this and are at all concerned about the safety of your loved ones, then make sure that you completely internalize and understand these two dangers of pesticides on fruits and veggies explained below so you become wiser and more alert the next time you get ingredients for your smoothie or your green salad:
1. Fruits and vegetables grown with pesticides still contain residues even after they are washed or peeled. When ingested, pesticides build up in the fat deposits of your body where they can cause serious damage. Children are more prone to these health risks because their immune systems are still developing. In fact, residues of the pesticides malathion and chlorpyrifos which are banned for home use but are still widely used on a variety of crops are still routinely detected in food items commonly consumed by young children as revealed by an annual survey by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Pesticide Data Program. In a study of 23 elementary students in the Seattle area whose conventional diets were monitored then replaced with organic diets and were later returned to their conventional diets, project leader Dr. Chensheng Lu reveals a very interesting fact: “Immediately after substituting organic food items for the children’s normal diets, the concentration of the organophosphorus pesticides found in their bodies decreased substantially to non-detectable levels until the conventional diets were re-introduced.”
2. Pregnant and nursing women who naturally consume more fruits and vegetables out of a sheer desire to carry a healthy pregnancy but unknowingly eat those grown using pesticides can pass them on to their unborn and nursing children. These can have adverse affects in the growing child’s nervous and immune systems. Among these include birth defects, skin and eye irritation, brain tumors, childhood leukemia, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, other cancers, hormone or endocrine system problems, nervous system damage, lower body weights and a less developed immune system.
Thus, before you pick anything from the grocery shelves, make sure that you check that the produce you get is grown organically. Apples, peaches, pears, red raspberries, strawberries, cherries, nectarines, imported grapes, bell peppers, potatoes, celery and spinach are the usual vegetables grown with the aid of pesticides. Get them organic whenever you can. Conversely, asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, kiwi, mangoes, onions, pineapples and sweet peas are safer for consumption since they have low pesticide levels. Sweet corn and papaya may be included in this list but make sure that what you’re getting is not GMO.