The Concerning Facts About Pesticides on Fruits and Vegetables
It’s no real secret these days that pesticides are used on a lot of fresh produce. But what we find a little more surprising are the health concerns associated with such pesticides.
According to a guide released by the Environmental Working Group (EWS) in the U.S, scientists now believe that even small doses of pesticides and chemicals can have damaging effects to our health and long-term wellbeing. This is particularly concerning for fetal development and during the stages of early childhood. As such, these scientists advise us to limit the amount of pesticides that we consume in our diet.
It is said that by eating just five serves of fruits and vegetables in which pesticides were used in their processing stages, can mean that you are consuming at least 10 pesticides contained in those foods.
The fruits and vegetables that the EWG have determined as the most pesticide-ridden fruits and vegetables are:
- Sweet bell peppers
The EWG labelled this list as ‘The Dirty Dozen’. You can find the full list online here.
Why do you need to be cautious of consuming foods with pesticides?
Pesticides have been linked to various health issues, including eye problems, neurological disorders, some forms of cancer, immune system dysfunctions, and sterility problems.
Although the above information has come out of the U.S, the Victorian government in Australia have released the following information on their Better Health website, directly related to Australian farming:
The levels of pesticide residue in fruits and vegetables have been closely monitored in Australia for the past 30 years. For most pesticides, a minimum time between spraying and harvesting of produce is set to ensure safe food. Levels of chemical residues in Australia are consistently found to be very low and well within safe limits.
Government-run produce-monitoring programs are in place to regulate the proper use of farm chemicals such as pesticides. The amount of pesticide residue in food depends on many factors, including:
- the type and amount of pesticide used
- the amount of rain, wind and sunshine that fell on the crop
- the kind of processing that food undergoes, such as storage time, washing or peeling
You should always thoroughly wash your fruits and vegetables prior to consuming. Peeling your produce may also help to reduce some of the chemicals. However, this is not a fool-safe solution, and chemicals may still be present within the produce. Peeling also means that you are ridding your fruit and vegetables of the vitamins contained just under, and in, the skin.
The best way to make sure you are consuming fruits and vegetables that are both healthy and safe for you is to purchase organic, or grow your own!