Americans are routinely exposed to dangerous chemicals that have long been banned in countries such as the UK, Germany and France. Of the 40,000 chemicals used in consumer products in the US, according to the EPA, only one percent have been tested for human safety.
When consumers spend their dollars on organic food we’re voting. We are voting for
- Less cancer causing pesticides in food,
- Less reproductive concerns
- More protection and the welfare of animals raised for poultry, pork and beef products
- avoid overuse of antibiotics.
- less environmental impacts and
- less detrimental effect to soil and water quality.
Buy these Organic.
Apples consistently rank near the top of the annual dirty dozen list. More than 45 different pesticides have been detected on apples, because fungus and insect threats prompt farmers to spray various chemicals on their orchards. Not surprisingly, pesticide residue is also found in apple juice and apple sauce, making all apple products smart foods to buy organic.
Another perennial entrant on the dirty dozen list, grapes can have more than 50 pesticides. Raisins, not surprisingly, also have high pesticide residue tests.
Annual testing by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) finds that non-organic strawberries regularly carry residues of many types of pesticides, including synthetic bug-killing chemicals and weedkillers. One sample of strawberries examined by USDA scientists contained residues of 22 different pesticides. An analysis by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that strawberries were the fresh produce item most likely to be contaminated with pesticide residue. Blackberries are also due special attention because of illegally high pesticide residue levels, according to the FDA.
Other fresh fruits
Conventionally produced cherries, apples and applesauce also show a high prevalence of pesticides, government data shows.
Kale and spinach
Though kale is widely considered a popular health food,theUSDA has reported finding residues of 17 different pesticides in some kale samples. Non-organic spinach has also been found to carry residues of an insecticide called permethrin, which is linked to neurological effects in children. The USDA found the insecticide in 76% of spinach samples along with residues of different fungicides designed to kill mold and mildew. Cucumbers might be laced with as many as 86 different pesticides that remain on the vegetable’s skin when it’s time for salad-making. Peeling the skin off may reduce your chances of ingesting some of them. Put on par with kale on the annual dirty dozen list, collard greens tests have revealed more than 45 pesticides. Alternatives include Brussels sprouts, dandelion greens, and cabbage.
Another perennial food on the dirty dozen list is celery. USDA tests have found more than 60 different pesticides on celery.
Bell Pepper & Potatoes
Another food that usually makes the dirty dozen list because it tends to have high pesticide residue is the sweet bell pepper, in all of its colorful varieties. Nearly 50 different pesticides have been detected on sweet bell peppers. America’s favorite vegetable is the potato. Unfortunately, more than 30 pesticides have been detected on potatoes in USDA testing. Sweet potatoes offer a delicious alternative with less chance of pesticide residue.
Non-organic chickens are often raised in tightly confined spaces with hundreds of other birds, causing health problems. The animals are often heavily dosed with antibiotics both because of illness and for growth promotion. The widespread use of antibiotics in poultry production has been tied to antibiotic resistance health problems in humans.
Some conventional dairy operators give their cows a growth hormone called recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) or recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) to increase milk production. The hormone has been found to cause health problems in cows, including udder infections. The illnesses in turn trigger more use of antibiotics, increasing the risk of antibiotic resistance.
Many non-organic oat farmers spray their crops with the herbicide glyphosate shortly before harvest in order to dry out the plants. The practice, called desiccation, has been shown to leave residues of glyphosate (a carcinogen) in finished oatmeal products. One FDA scientist found glyphosate residues in several types of infant oat cereal.
Preservatives and other additives have been found to be almost four times higher in conventional bread than in organic bread. The food additive potassium bromate is one additive often used in conventional bread to improve the rise of bread dough and to make it whiter, but it is banned in Europe and IARC classifies it a possible human carcinogen. Glyphosate is also used as a desiccant on some non-organic wheat, and residues of the weedkiller have been found in bread products.
Conventional tofu typically comes from genetically modified soybeans sprayed directly with glyphosate weedkiller. Conventional soybean farmers are also increasingly using new varieties of GMO soybean seeds that are sprayed with other types of herbicides as well, leaving a weedkiller cocktail in finished foods.
Cattle fattened on feed lots instead of grass pastureslive in crowded conditions and exist on a diet typically containing genetically modified corn that has been treated with pesticides. The animals are often dosed with antibiotics to treat or prevent diseases common in conventional confinement operations, contributing to antibiotic resistance. Meat from organically raised, grass-fed cattle also generally has higher levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Eggs from organically raised hens benefits those who eat them as well as those who lay them. Organic eggs come from chickens raised on a diet free from most pesticides and not confined to tight cages. Some egg producers do not adhere tightly to organic standards, however, so buyers should do their best to research their egg producer of choice.
Source: EWA, Guardian, Others