An Apple a Day Might Not be Okay

March 2013

Trisha Bravo

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Pesticides are commonly used in agriculture, our homes, parks, roads, and many more places. They linger in the air we breathe, our food, and even the water we consume.  Despite its purpose to increase food production and protection from pests, bacteria, and certain diseases, its necessity has been questioned due to the long-term effects it may have on our bodies and our environment.

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            Pesticides, such as herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides, can be found on almost everything we eat. Fruits, vegetables, and grains are directly sprayed with pesticides. Others foods, like meat, dairy, and eggs, may contain traces due to the pesticide-grown grains that the animals were fed.

 

Highest levels of pesticides

Lowest levels of pesticides

Apples

Avocadoes

Celery

Cabbage

Cucumbers

Cauliflower

Grapes

Eggplant

Pears

Mangoes

Potatoes

Watermelon

 

            Although crops are closely monitored to ensure they contain safe levels of pesticides for consumption, remaining residue still makes its way into our systems. Even the most minimal exposure can lead to certain health problems, varying from short-term to fatal. Less severe effects include headaches, fatigue, and irritation to the nerves, skin, and eyes. More chronic effects like cancer, and problems in reproduction can occur years after exposure.

 

            On top of the harm it brings to our health, pesticides are equally as harmful to our environment. Their toxicity to living organisms kill necessary insects and soil microorganisms, damaging soil health.

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How to limit exposure to pesticide:

  • Eat organically grown fruits and vegetables as an alternative
  • Choose locally grown produce (It contains less pesticide in comparison to imported produce)
  • Always wash or lightly scrub fruits and vegetables before eating
  • Peel fruits and vegetables before eating
  • Grow your own produce

 

 

 

 

 

Image sources:

Image 1: http://pinterest.com/pin/352477108305817188/

Image 2: http://blog.amsvans.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/pesticide-300_tcm18-60750.jpg

Image 3: http://greenplanetethics.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/pesticide-food-2.jpg