Nine Ways To Avoid Pesticide Residues In Food
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO to lower your chances of intake of harmful chemical pesticides:
1) Eat Organic!
Organic vegetables are not permitted to be sprayed with chemical pesticides, so they are far less likely to have chemical pesticide in or on them. You “automagically” bypass these potential chemical pesticide health risks when you buy properly certified / correctly grown organic produce! Note – check the country of origin on “organic” goods – as recent alarming reports have raised an alarm over the authenticity of organic imports from China.
2) Wash Your Produce (whether organic or not)
It won’t get rid of all of it as some is absorbed by the plants, but it helps. Use warm water and wash your produce in a similar manner to the manner in which you wash your hands. Light scrubbing – perhaps with a special produce brush (they’re very cheap) is a good idea. Some use a very small amount of mild dish soap, but I am uncertain about the safety of this. Note that there are special “produce washes” which can be purchased in grocery stores. You can also make your own basic produce wash by using a cup of water with a teaspoon of sea salt added.
3) Peel Non-Organic Produce
Due to spraying, it stands to reason that pesticide residues are likely to end up closest to the surface of the produce, so by peeling it you remove the area most likely to be affected.
4) Be Aware Of “The Dirty Dozen And The Clean Fifteen”
If you can’t afford all-organic veg, pay particular attention to what is known as the “dirty dozen” – crops which have been tested to show higher pesticide residues on average. Make these a higher priority for organic purchase if funds are limited:
These are in general HIGHER in pesticide residues:
• Nectarines (imported)
• Grapes (imported)
• Sweet Bell Peppers
• Collard Greens
On the other end of the spectrum, the following “clean fifteen” were found to have the lowest amount of pesticide residues:
These are in general LOWER in pesticide residues:
• Sweet Corn
• Sweet Peas
• Sweet potatoes
Source: Environmental Working Group (2012). Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.
5) Don’t Eat The “Pesticide Pool”!
Certain fruits, such as apples, have a small hollow area at the top which can fill with water when the fruit is sprayed, leading to a higher concentration of pesticides in that area. Don’t eat the “pesticide pool”! Cut out and discard the very top part of non-organic fruits that have a hollow… especially the ones in the Dirty Dozen.
6) Grow your own produce.
Unless there are some crazy regulations preventing you from doing this, grow your own! When you grow your own, you have control over what goes in the soil and what gets sprayed on your plants. So you can be sure to give your kids pesticide-free veg! ❤
Also, you get some exercise when you are gardening, plus you get to care for nature and pass on the wisdom. Remember, we are the “Gardeners of Eden!”
7) Wild Harvest / Forage
Obviously, don’t do this in a place where the air, soil or water is polluted, such as next to a road, as the plants will have been “breathing” those fumes! Also, you should only do this if you know your species accurately, so that you don’t accidentally pick a poisonous plant – very important indeed! However, if you “know your onions” and are in a location unblighted by chemical pollutants, there are an astonishing variety of wild, healthy, pure foods that you can eat. This book – “Food For Free” by Richard Mabey (note: based on plants growing in the UK) is considered to be one of the best books on the subject and is recommended not only by nature lovers but as a key manual by survivalists. For people in Australia, edibleweeds.com.au has a book on “edible weeds”.
8) Filter Tap Water Before Drinking!
A new study (Dec 2012) found an association between food allergies and dicholorphenols (commonly used in pesticides / herbicides and also added to tap water!)
9) Keep up the pressure
…for full, transparent reviews of the toxicity of pesticides and their long-term effects on the ecosystem. Governments need to protect the health of the population as a first priority! Truly independent health studies should be carried out, not just the in-house studies conducted by the corporations: Scientific research over matters of public health should surely be “open source” and able to be independently validated.
The more knowledgeable you are, the better the choices you can make. Here are some links to further resources:
Latest scientific studies on Glyphosate: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=glyphosate
Latest scientific studies on 2,4-D: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=2%2C4-D
Latest scientific studies on Pesticides (various types): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=pesticide
Latest scientific studies on essential oils as insecticides: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=essential+oils+insecticide (Very few indeed have noted the “curiosity” that essential oils have maintained their effectiveness against insects throughout the ages whereas manufactured insecticides “fail” as bugs become tolerant to them…. why is this?)
Pesticide Action Network