Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fruits & Vegetables with Pesticides - Think before Eat

An apple a day keeps the doctor away - such a quote becomes well known just because of the adequate nutrition from fruits as well as vegetables. Therefore, experts strongly insist on eating more fruits and vegetables for their healthy diet. But, pesticide residue on fruits and vegetables badly reveals potential dark side which centrally concerned by everyone. As per the sensational breaking news, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a public health nonprofit, declared its updated "Dirty Dozen" list of the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables according to the government's produce pesticide reports. Nobody easily agreed with that even fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables have some strong toxic chemicals: pesticides on their skins and in their selves too.

Fruits & Vegetables with Pesticides

Reasons for why fruits and vegetables of  "Dirty Dozen" list are more vulnerable:
  • Almost apples grow anywhere, manufacturers of pesticide specifically create products for them. Strawberries grow close to the ground and are vulnerable to pests, so farmers often use pesticides to get prevention against the development of pests.
  • Celery takes months to grow. During this longer time, it is greatly affected by pesticides. Celery has not any natural protection of leaves unlike broccoli against the chemicals.
  • Blueberries are attractive to bugs as they have a soft skin which can easily break. So pesticide penetrates directly into the fleshy tissue of the fruit through the skin.
  • Red peppers are mature form of the green peppers so it faces more exposure to chemicals because of prolonged treatment.
  • Spinach leaves offer a large area to be sprayed with chemicals. A perfect leaf of spinach means greatly treated with chemicals.
  • Potatoes grow underground and absorb the chemicals by their leaves and from the soil which around them.
  • Grapes have a thin skin, which makes them susceptible to pests and butterflies. To look after the crops, farmers often use pesticides.
  • Peaches and nectarines have a nice look so they will have good presentation. They also have a thin skin; through which not only bugs but also pesticides can easily pass.
  • Kale is also a leafy vegetable like spinach. Also it has a large exposed surface which absorbs chemical and pesticides sprays.

On one hand, Apples are at the first position for their health benefits but on the other side such a ubiquitous fruit beat out -celery- last year's top spot of “Dirty Dozen” list. Apart from apple, other fruits which consistently have the highest levels of pesticide residues are peaches, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, and grapes. Vegetables like sweet bell peppers, celery, spinach, lettuce, and potatoes are also to be mentioned in that list.

Almost 96000 tests conducted for pesticide remains on fruits and vegetables by the EWG. Sample of fruits and vegetables for data were collected by the United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration during 2000 to 2008. To compose their list, the EWG used such fruits and vegetables that had already been peeled or washed as necessary.

According to different studies, as and when you consume the 12 most polluted fruits and vegetables, you will be exposed to an average of 10 pesticides per day. Some comments that if pesticides on produce are in minimal amount, it does not influence to our health. However many experts believe that exposure to even small amounts of pesticides for a long period of time liable to cause deadly effect on your health. Based on some potential studies, it is crystal clear that exposure to pesticides can enhance the risk of developing different types of cancer, dysfunction, nervous system and reproductive problems. Exposure to pesticides could weaken your immune systems and may be cause for attention-deficit (hyperactivity) disorder.

Pregnant women along with unborn babies, infants and young children whose bodies are still developing, are specifically vulnerable to the negative health effects of pesticides. Due to exposure to pesticides, hormone or endocrine system would be also disrupted and it causes neurological problems. Birth defects, learning disabilities, Parkinson’s, diabetes, Fertility problems, asthma, Irritation to skin and eyes, autism, Alzheimer’s diseases, and ADHD are such a serious health problems which have been greatly associated to pesticides. Research on the long-term health effects of pesticides is intense and ongoing by the EPA.

A mixture of chemical substances used on farms is known as pesticide. Herbicides, fungicides, and different other substances are used as pesticides to destroy or control pests, diseases and weeds from affecting crops. Some pesticides just cover the surface of foods; while others may soak into the roots and so can not be removed. There was a large supply of new synthetic chemicals which introduced to the food supply only in the 20th century. Generally, fruits and vegetables with a thin layer, for example celery is quicker to absorb pesticides than the produce with a thicker skin like an avocado.

Though it seems hard to cure ourselves from dangerous pesticides but education is the key to solve any problem. You can limit your exposure to pesticides only by understanding the list of the "clean 15″- a list of produce with the slightest pesticides. It is composed by the EWG and contains fruits like avocados, pineapples, mangoes, kiwi, bananas, and papaya as well as veggies like sweet corn, asparagus, sweet peas, cabbage, and broccoli with topping of onion. According to the EWG - 2010 report, your pesticide exposure can be lowered by nearly 80 percent if you avoid fruits and vegetables of "Dirty Dozen" list. Sorting out fruits and vegetables of the "clean 15″ list which consistently have the lowest levels of pesticide residues can help consumers to protect health and well being.

Another guideline to reduce pesticide exposure is rinsing and peeling a produce. Rinsing produce does not remove pesticides completely but it can reduce amount of the ingested harmful substances like pesticide. Peeling is helpful, but valuable nutrients with the skin frequently go down to the drain. Sometimes pesticides absorbed by the roots of the plant, at that time peeling fruits and vegetables is fruitless. If you actually want to consume quality food, visit nearest farmer’s market or try to shop organic food.

No doubt that consumption of organic produce - which grown without synthetic or toxic chemicals or fertilizers - is a great safety guard. As it costs expensively, it is totally unrealistic to eat only organic produce every time. Preferably, you can use them in place of most contaminated fruits and vegetables. They have not only rich nutrient content but also better taste, even though they may not look so pretty. For price of organic produce, we may say that you pay for Quality not for quantity.

Regardless of any choices made, it is better to rinse every fruits and vegetables prior to consuming them.

Video of The Dirty dozen 12 Fruits and Vegetables Most Likely to Contain Pesticides from Youtube:


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