Safety Concerns in the Use of Pesticides

Safety Concerns in the Use of Pesticides

Inorganic farms use pesticides and chemicals when growing fruits and vegetables. Bugs and insects like eating the farm’s produce. So, spraying pesticides on the plants keeps the bugs and insects away, so that the farm gets a better yield of crops.

Fresh fruits and vegetables, such as apples and berries, are delicious and very healthy to eat. But have you ever considered the fact that the growers of these produce may be using pesticides to keep the bugs away?

When pesticides are sprayed on fruits or veggies, the chemical residues remain on the skin of the produce, which consumers happen to ingest upon munching on these food items.

The Danger of Pesticides

Some people are really not concerned about the use of pesticides. Since there’s a governing body that regulates the use of pesticides, application is kept at a safe level.

However, even with the assurance that the USDA is doing its job, there’s still a certain risk of health problems. Young children who are smaller and absorbs more pesticide residues may be affected with stronger side effects.

The body also tends to accumulate the pesticides absorbed by the body. So after many years of exposure, some problems may appear in pregnant women and young kids.

Some have motor skills problems.
There arises certain behavioral disorder in some children.
Children may have delayed growth or development.

Foods That Have More or Less Pesticides

When eating fresh fruits and vegetable without removing the skin, you ingest more pesticides. Removing the peels of fruits, such as oranges and bananas, also removes the pesticides. However, some fruits with edible skin are better off eaten with the skin to get extra fiber and nutrients.

Foods have varying concentrations of pesticides. Those with higher amounts include nectarines, peaches, cherries, grapes, berries, pears, apples, potatoes, bell peppers, spinach and celery. Produce that have lower amounts are avocado, kiwi fruit, mangoes, papaya, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, asparagus, sweet corn and sweet peas.

Tips to Lower Your Pesticides Exposure

Go Organic

There are ways of limiting the amount of pesticides that you are exposed to. This is especially important if you’re pregnant or when you’re nursing a baby. One way is to buy organic foods. This gives you the assurance that the food plants you are eating are grown without using pesticides or any other chemicals.

Proper Washing of Produce

A quick rinse of the fresh produce is not enough to remove pesticides. Another thing you can do is purchase some cleansers or sprays that can remove the pesticides from the produce. Manually cleaning the produce with a scrub under running water also helps to remove the pesticides on the skin. But this can only be done on potatoes and yams, but not on berries. It’s better to just buy soft produce that are organic as these taste a lot better, in addition to being pesticide-free.

You can never be 100% sure that you are totally free from pesticide exposure. But if you want to be on the safe side, then choose organic produce when buying food in the market and then be sure to peel the fruits and vegetables before eating them.

Photo credits: “Warning! Pesticide” by Editor Gol Monitor via Flickr, CC by-SA 2.0

Categories: Health

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