The Dirty Dozen And The Clean 15 Vegetables And Fruit

Pesticides have been used by people to control infestations on crops as early as 2,000 b.c. but it wasn?t until after World War ll when Paul Muller, a Swiss chemist discovered the first synthetic pesticide Organochlorine or more popularly known as DDT (short for dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) that pesticide use became widespread. The EPA classifies DDT as:

Probable human carcinogen

Damages the liver

Temporarily damages the nervous system

Reduces reproductive success

Can cause liver cancer

Damages reproductive system

Fast forward to 1996 when congress passed two laws - the ?Food Quality Protection Act? that required the EPA to monitor the types of pesticides used and the ?Consumer's Right To Know? that aimed to educate people about the dangers of pesticide found in food. Both these laws strive to eliminate the most lethal pesticides out of the market so that people can eat food that isn?t exposed to these poisonous chemicals.

What are the dangers of pesticide exposure?

Eating food with pesticide residue has a lot of health risks to both adults and children. Children in particular are at a bigger risk because their bodies and immune system aren?t fully developed.

In a test done by the Center For Disease Control and prevention (CDC) they found that 93% of americans had traces of Chlorpyrifos (a neuro toxic insecticide) in their urine ? this pesticide is part of the Organophosphate family and has been linked to ADHD.

In a study done by the Pesticide Action Network, they found that 99% of americans were positive for DDT degradants. Women who are exposed to this increase their chances of developing breast cancer five-fold. Even though this pesticide has been banned since 1972, the remnants of it can still be found in the environment because it is a persistent organic pollutant (or pop) that accumulates in the food chain.

Can pesticides cause cancer?

Even though evidence that links cancer to pesticide in foods is "inconclusive", the president?s cancer panel (in a May 2010 report) says this has been grossly understated and has urged Obama to use the power of his office to lower people?s exposure to carcinogens. In hindsight the PCP focuses more on the broader picture of environmental pesticide exposure, in particular finding ways to prevent/minimizing exposure rather than pigeon holing itself to just finding cure to these diseases. Exposure to these carcinogenic chemicals can cause an imbalance in the body?s hormones that in turn activate cancer cells.


Pesticides On Food

Pesticide Action Network - cancer

EWG's 2014 Shopper's Guide To Pesticides In Produce

Why Children May Be Particularly Sensitive To Pesticides

President's Cancer Panel: Environmentally Caused Cancers Are 'Grossly Underestimated' And 'Needlessly Devastate American Lives.'

Check out this infographic and find out the vegetables and fruit that have the most pesticide residues and the ones with the least.