Herbicide and Pesticide residue on fruit and vegetables has been linked to a long list of health problems including certain cancers, symptoms of ADHD, autism, and Parkinson’s.
US-based Environmental Working Group has released its annual list of those foods most (and least) affected by herbicide and pesticide residue. The lists are based on studies into American produce but illustrate the need for us to take care in choosing produce whether imported, or produced on conventional farms using toxic chemicals.
Despite claims by a spokesperson at Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) that Australia uses DIFFERENT herbicides and pesticides and that levels are strictly set, I would suggest many mamas ‘on the ground’ would attest to these chemicals causing childhood problems like rashes, allergies and asthma.
Of the few studies done into herbicide and pesticide use on Australian produce, a Friends of the Earth study found 125 pesticides on various fruits and vegetables including chlorpyrifos, fenitrothion, difocol and dimethoate which are highly toxic.
Often ‘safe’ levels of these highly toxic chemicals are discussed but when the possible problems include disrupting the endocrine system, ADHD, lowering IQ’s, learning and behavioural problems and possible increases in Lymphoblastic Leukemia in children, any mama would be wise to question whether ANY level is truly safe.
If you are committed to nourishing your family with wholesome foods but are struggling to swallow some of the prices for organic products here is a list to help you choose foods that are safer when organic and those that are OK to buy conventional.
Remember, Farmers Markets are a great place to buy produce that may not be certified organic but will likely be chemical free. Check with the market stallholder and enjoy the savings on delicious wholefoods. Home delivery fruit and veggie boxes are another way to ensure you’re getting good quality produce at reasonable prices.
(Also mentioned in recent years: Blueberries, Lettuce, Cucumber, Broccoli, Carrots, Kale and zucchini)
(Also mentioned in recent years: Watermelon, Sweet Potato, Grapefruit, Mushrooms)
Environmental Working Group:
Sustainable Gardening Australia: