Rootstohealth's Blog


How harmful are pesticides?
June 15, 2009, 1:02 pm
Filed under: Doing Well at Home, Pesticides, Research Studies

I have a constant battle with myself — do I try to ONLY eat organic? 50% organic?  Do I buy the apples from far away that are certified organic, or buy the conventional apples from the Union Square Farmer’s Market? (I have yet to see any organic apple options there).

Because I don’t always buy organic, I invested in Environne Fruit and Vegetable Wash (http://www.environne.com/products.php).  This product, with sorbitol and Grapeseed extract claims to remove pesticides and waxes that would are insoluble in water ( and therefore…stay on your fruit even after you wash them).  My mind (and my boyfriend), claim that it probably does nothing for you.  I am tempted to believe the pesticide bit.  Most pesticides ARE soluble in organic substances (like alcohols and sugars), and pesticides do bind to compounds that have many polar groups.  This study was used to for analyzing the chemical properties of pesticides.  It found that simultanously feeding sugars and alcohols with the pesticides allowed for greater clarity in the instrument (because the alcohols binded to the pesticides —  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14570329).   That does sell me on the pesticide claim.  I’d be interested to see if there is a noticeable difference in the amount of wax on a vegetable after washing.

Meanwhile – a reason to actually buy organic or use some sort of fruit wash http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-06/asoh-iwa061209.php – This study just out from the American Society of Hematology – they found that people that applied pesticides to plants were almost 2 times more likely to develop rare a blood disorder which raises plasma proteins and is a predeterminant for cancer.  This study had a broad range of participants and seems pretty legit.  I’m sure it’s not the only negative health effect that constant exposure can lead to.  And — remember that many farmers and farm workers  do not have adequate health insurance…just adding to the burden on the health care system.

Pesticides don’t seem as wonder drug as they did before…

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