It’s no secret that pesticides, consumed in vast quantities, are toxic to humans. And yet, we all turn a blind eye to the number of toxins that enter our bodies due to pesticide use in traditional farming methods.
If you’re not caught up on the dangers of pesticides in the food chain, here are three reasons you should be talking about pesticides:
Meet the Dirty Dozen
Dubbed the Dirty Dozen, here are the 12 fruits and vegetables that tested positive for the highest levels of pesticide residue, starting with the worst:
3. Kale, collard, and mustard greens
10. Bell and hot peppers
Admittedly, this is from an American study, where the rules and regulations around pesticides are different. However, it’s worth noting that these staple shopping basket items are treated chemically to prevent pests from tucking in no matter where you are, unless you shop organic.
Worryingly, recent studies have shown that simply washing produce is not enough to remove pesticide residue; the chemicals often seep into the food we eat.
If you weren’t already aware, there are many adverse effects associated with exposure to the toxins in pesticides. Some of the chemicals replicate estrogen, which can lead to estrogen dominance and an unbalance of hormones, for example.
So, although organic produce comes with a premium price tag; it’s starting to sound good value for money, right?
And the Clean Fifteen
On the other hand, the Clean Fifteen are the fruits and vegetables that have the least pesticide residues. In fact, it’s an extremely rare occurrence in the following:
6. Sweet peas (frozen)
14. Honeydew melon
You can tuck into any of these delicious and nutritious plants, safe in the knowledge that your exposure to toxins will be minimal.
Banned in the EU in 2009, many fruits and vegetables around the world test positive for DCPA, which has been identified as a possible human carcinogen. Equally, chlopyrifos is still used in some regions, despite evidence that it is neurotoxic and that it harms children’s brain development in utero. It is crucial that babies and children avoid pesticides. A 2020 study uncovered a correlation between intellectual disability in children and exposure to organophosphates (a type of pesticide).
So, how can you and your family stay safe?
How to stay safe
There are a few things you can do so you can continue enjoy a balanced diet, filled with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables:
1. Wash everything with a mixture of 1 cup apple cider vinegar and 3 cups water before you eat it
2. Switch to organic produce, where possible
3. Buy local produce that is in-season