Pesticide Residue In Food Poses Health Risks
There's no getting around it: pesticides used to grow fruit, vegetables and grains linger on in your body long after you've eaten the food, unless they're grown organically.
Organic fruit, vegetables and grains are grown according to a strict set of rules issued by the US Department of Agriculture. In order to earn the “organic” label, among other things, growers cannot use synthetic pesticides, insecticides or fertilizers in their fields. The produce has to be "clean and green".
Whether organic food packs more nutrition than food grown Big Agriculture-style is still controversial. Some studies claim that organic produce contains more ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and more anti oxidants, but other studies show no difference. Both sides continue to cite facts.
Assuming that organic and conventionally grown food provide identical nutrition, the choice in the produce aisle comes down to: chemical residue or no chemical residue?
In the world of fresh fruits and vegetables, there are those whose skins you eat and those you don't. One typically eats the skin of an apple or a sweet pepper, but not a banana or grapefruit. Invariably, the skin of any fruit or vegetable grown non-organically contains pesticide residue. Wash it all day long, but it will still be there – it's sort of “baked in”.
A 2003 study conducted by the University Of Washington found that children who ate a diet of conventionally produced food showed a level of pesticides in their body SIX TIMES HIGHER than children who ate organically produced food. The researchers found that some of the levels exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency's threshold for “acceptable risk”.
The EPA's “acceptable risk” guidelines govern the amount of pesticide residue that can be carried on any piece of produce. But what the EPA can't govern is the “bioaccumulation” of those pesticides. As defined by Wikipedia, “Bioaccumulation occurs when an organism absorbs a toxic substance at a rate greater than that at which the substance is lost. Thus, the longer the biological half-life of the substance the greater the risk of chronic poisoning, even if environmental levels of the toxin are not very high."Continued on the next page