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Why should you care about pesticides?

28 April 2009 3,355 views No Comment

Why should you care about pesticides?


The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit organization that advocates in Washington D.C., for policies that protect global and individual health.

Among the many valuable services they provide is a Shoppers’ Guide to Pesticides in Produce. It is based on the results of nearly 43,000 pesticide tests performed on produce and collected by federal agencies between 2000 and 2004. Nearly all of the data used took into account how people typically wash and prepare produce – for example, apples were washed and bananas peeled before testing.

Of the 43 different fruit and vegetable categories tested, the list of twelve foods listed below

Choosing Organic is the best choice for your family.

Keep your family healthy and strong, avoid pesticides

do not have to be organic.







Sweet peas (frozen)



Sweet corn (frozen)



These had the lowest pesticide load, and consequently are the safest conventionally grown crops to consume from the standpoint of pesticide contamination.

To this list, I would add one caveat: When it comes to pesticide use, there is more to consider than just the residues that are ingested by the consumer. Although peeled foods such as bananas, mangoes, avocadoes and kiwis may spare the consumer from significant pesticide exposure, it is possible that large amounts of pesticides and herbicides are used on the farms from which these originate, contaminating groundwater, promoting erosion and otherwise damaging local ecosystems.

To help promote the health of the planet as well as your own health, it’s best to buy organic whenever possible, including when you are purchasing the foods listed above.

Of the 43 different fruit and vegetable categories tested, those listed below had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy organic versions – or to grow organically yourself:

Keep him healthy and strong, avoid pesticide's

Choosing Organic is the best choice when it comes to Sweet Bell Peppers.



Sweet bell peppers






Grapes (imported)




A few other notes from the EWG: Nectarines had the highest percentage of samples that tested positive for pesticides (97.3 percent) followed by peaches (96.6 percent) and apples (93.6 percent). Peaches had the highest likelihood for multiple pesticides on a single sample: 86.6 percent had two or more pesticide residues.

Why should you care about pesticides? The EWG points out that there is a growing consensus in the scientific community that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can have adverse effects on health, especially during vulnerable periods such as fetal development and childhood. Also keep in mind that maintaining your family’s health is not the only reason to choose organic food. Pesticide and herbicide use contaminates groundwater, ruins soil structures and promotes erosion, and me a contributor to “colony collapse disorder” the sudden and mysterious die-off of pollinating honeybees that threatens the American food supply.

Keep the honeybees alive, ban pesticides.

Keep the honeybees alive, ban pesticides.

Buying or growing organic food is good for the health of the planet.

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