Have you visited the grocery market lately? If you did, you probably noticed some changes in the prices, particularly of strawberries. These sweet red pleasures have been at a low price lately, but except for eating them so often, have you thought of why did this happen?
Every morning you get up, put out some fresh strawberries from the fridge, never realizing they contain loads of pesticides and that you are actually doing more harm than good by consuming them. If you happen to put strawberries in your morning fruit salad or they are a favorite in the smoothie list, make sure they are organic and fresh.
This year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has listed strawberries as the most contaminated with pesticide residues. This working group releases a type of a list every year as a Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. The group makes conclusions based on laboratory tests run by the USDA Pesticide Testing Program as well as the Food and Drug Administration.
Then, after they have examined everything, they release a list so as to inform the people of the average amount of pesticides found in produce. 2016’s list contains 12 vegetables and fruits and strawberries are on the top of the list.
The EWG analyzed 48 fruits and vegetables and this year apples were not listed as first ones, like last year. Shockingly, 98% of strawberry samples had at least one pesticide residue.
The popularity of strawberries
Our nation adores strawberries and I can confirm that we are a strawberry nation. On average, a person consumes approximately 8 pounds a year. It is an astonishing discovery because we know now how much chemicals we are consuming while eating strawberries.
These pesticides are so dangerous that some of the chemicals in their content are linked to cancer as well as reproductive damage. The data from strawberry samples say that each strawberry contained around six different pesticides, which is shocking information for people who consume them on a daily basis.
California data say that almost 300 pounds of pesticides were applied to one acre of strawberries that were grown inside California in 2014. In order for you to realize how bad that can be, we can compare strawberries with corn.
Farmers apply “only” 5 pounds of pesticides per acre and they call corn a crop that is pesticide-intensive. So, what types of pesticides were used so that strawberries become so cheap and you ended up buying them every day?
Harmful pesticides used on strawberries
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) listed the types of pesticides used in strawberries and they are the following:
- Bifenthrin (California regulators claimed this insecticide a possible human carcinogen);
- Malathion (this is a nervous system toxin that was classified as a possible human carcinogen by the International agency for Cancer Research);
- Carbendazim (this is a hormone-disrupting fungicide that is banned in the European Union).
The EWG analysis states that 40% of the tested strawberries had residues of over 10 pesticides. Also, some growers use 60 different pesticides when growing strawberries. They found one sample which had 17 different pesticides residues. Knowing all of this, we can advise you to always buy organic strawberries, or if you can, grow your own.
Strawberries are extremely easy to grow because they are perennials. You don’t have to worry about them, because they will come back next year.
When children are exposed to pesticides, it is a greater harm than we can imagine. If they are exposed to high levels of pesticides they are at a greater risk of impaired intelligence as well as ADHD.
Newest research shows that during the summer, the level of pesticides in the bodies of elementary school children was the highest because they ate the freshest produce during this period. When the same children were exposed to organic produce, they were pesticide-free just after five days.
The dirty dozen and clean 15
This year’s Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 lists look very similar to last ones in 2015 with small changes. The EWG analyzed a combination of six different measures of contamination in order to find a composite score for each type of fruit or vegetable. Here are the results and the lists:
2016 Dirty Dozen – Buy them organic!
- Sweet bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
2016 Clean 15 – Buy them conventional!
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Honeydew melon
Eat organic and lower the pesticide levels in your body
Research and data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claim that more than 75% of our population has detectable levels of organophosphate pesticides in the urine. You can lower these levels by just eating organic produce.
There was research which showed that people who often ate organic food had 65% lower levels of pesticide residues. Eating organic can cost you a lot more than eating conventional produce, but it is better to have access to organic produce whenever you can so that you let go of the pesticides.