Tag Archives: Health Risks Associated With Pesticides

An Apple a Day May Not Keep the Doctor Away: What You Need to Know About the Safety of Commercially Grown Apples

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An apple a day keeps the doctor away. As a family owned business, Mopfrog of Danbury heard that phrase from their parents and grandparents as a way to encourage choosing what was once one of the healthiest snacks available – a plump, shiny apple. Now, however, apples are at the top of a frighteningly different list.

This other list is known as the Dirty Dozen, an annual list of fruits and vegetables that contain the highest levels of pesticides, as compiled by one of the leading environment advocacy groups, The Environment Working Group (EWG). In addition to apples, peaches and nectarines, common berries, such as strawberries and vegetables such as celery, kale and cherry tomatoes also make the list. 

Apple Facts

If you are wondering how apples made the leap from healthy and wholesome to pesticide-laden, much of it has to do with the procedures used by non-organic apple producers to maximize the harvest and keep their product attractive and market-worthy both before and after it is grown. In addition to pesticides used to prevent insect infestation in the orchards while the fruit is growing, apple producers and packers commonly apply diphenylamine (DPA) to the apples after harvest to prevent discolorations from occurring during cold storage that would make the apples unsuitable for market. 

Although DPA has been banned from this type of use in Europe, it continues to be used by commercial non-organic apple growers and fruit producers here in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), includes diphenylamine in its NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. Symptoms related to exposure to this chemical are serious and include skin and eye irritation, hematuria (blood in the urine), increases in blood pressure, changes in heart rate and even reproductive issues. 

Sourcing Safe Apples

Apples, applesauce and apple juices have traditionally been favorite foods of kids and adults alike, which provides even more reason to search out and patronize apple sources that grow this fruit using pesticide-free, organic methods. Even if there are no organic orchards in your area, you may be able to source healthy apples through a food coop or even a friend or family member who has surplus apples from their own trees. Apples store easily, making it possible to purchase them in bulk. Most varieties will stay crisp and juicy in the refrigerator crisper or a cool basement for weeks or even months. 

To extend your enjoyment of organic, pesticide free apples (and other fruits), consider learning to make and preserve fresh applesauce and juice and store it in the freezer. Home canning can also provide a way to safely and easily process apples and many other types of fruit for long-term, shelf stable storage. As a bonus, home processing and preservation of fruits and vegetables means that you can control additives, such as sugar. When you are offering healthy, pesticide-free apples to your family, you can smile as you say, “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away”.

Dirty Dozen Produce, Healthy Eating, Pesticides in Produce, ,

Pesticides & Your Child: The Risk May be Greater than You Think

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Even though we may not be aware of them, pesticides are ever-present in our environment. They eradicate pests that are known to damage the food supply, rid our pets of fleas, ticks and mites, and keep everything from ants to wasps away from our homes and lawns.

Just these three uses are enough to provide substantial amount of daily exposure, but pesticide use shows up in places that we may not even consider. In fact, a simple outing to the playground, a meal at a restaurant, a day of school and dozens of other common activities all add even more exposure to pesticides that have to potential harm our children.

Layer Upon Layer of Danger

Toddlers and young children are even more at risk from the dangers of pesticides than their parents and older siblings. Young children explore as part of the learning process and this exploration creates many instances when objects are tasted and fingers are placed in the mouth. In addition, younger children often sit or lie upon grass or carpet while playing. If these surfaces have been treated with pesticides, contact with the skin may be enough to absorb the pesticide into the body.

Children also tend to consume proportionately more of specific products known to have high levels of pesticides used on the farms and in the orchards. Fruits, vegetables, juices and even milk often test high for pesticide use, adding yet another layer of exposure for our children.

Pesticides, the Body and the Brain

Studies suggest that as many as 600,000 children born each year suffer from some type of developmental disability and the number is growing. Autism, ADHD and lower IQs are just a few of the serious issues linked to pesticide exposure that many of these children will suffer. In addition to developmental risks, pesticide exposure is also linked to serious physical health risks, such as childhood cancers, leukemia and asthma.

Cutting the Risk

Parents can play a huge role in cutting the risk of pesticide exposure for their children just by making good choices for daily activities and menus, including:

  • Purchasing only organic foods or local foods produced without pesticide use
  • Opting for non-toxic, natural cleaning methods
  • Using natural pest control methods on pets and in the lawn and garden
  • Installing a good quality water filter for the family’s drinking water
  • Teaching toddlers and young children to refrain from putting their hands and objects into their mouths
  • Dressing children in long pants and long sleeve shirts for activities that may expose their skin to pesticides
  • Choose to use cleaning companies like Mopfrog of North Buckhead that take pride in using only natural, non-toxic cleaners and techniques
Pesticides and Children, Pesticides and Children's Health, Pesticides and Human Health, ,