According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, most of the food produced for human consumption is grown using pesticides. Chemical control of weeds, insects, fungi, and rodents has enabled agricultural productivity and intensity to increase. However, these economic benefits are not without their risks to human and environmental health. Small amounts of some pesticides may remain as residues on fruits, vegetables, grains, and other foods. If exposures are great enough, many pesticides may cause harmful health effects, including delayed or altered development, cancer, acute and chronic injury to the nervous systems, lung damage, reproductive dysfunction, and possibly dysfunction of the endocrine (hormone) and immune systems.
Children’s exposures to pesticide residues may be relatively higher than those of most adults. Pound for pound, children generally eat more than adults, and they may be exposed more heavily to certain pesticides because they consume a diet different from that of adults. For instance, children typically consume larger quantities of fruits and fruit juices per pound of body weight.
The ten worst offenders
Pesticide residue is most common on the following fruits and vegetables according to research conducted by Consumers Union (CU) and the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Highlight these top ten on your shopping list and advise friends and family to do the same – spread the word and lessen the toxic load of your loved ones.
3. Imported Grapes
(Since they’re grown under different regulations, the residue levels of these pesticides frequently exceed those our own government deems acceptable.)
10. Sweet Bell Peppers
Shop with care and remember that this list above also applies to the other products you may buy that contain these fruits and vegetables, for example apple juice, strawberry jam and frozen chips.