FROM PESTICIDES ON PRODUCE
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States uses more than a billion pounds of pesticides per year. As concerned parents, we are at risk, states Charles Benbrook, a consultant to the Consumers Union, and author of Pest Management at the Crossroads.
According to U.S. News and World Report, children are at an increased risk of exposure to pesticides and chemicals, because they consume relatively more produce than adults. But be aware! Pesticides are found in more than just fruits and vegetables. If you or your neighbor uses a fungicide, herbicide or insecticide to maintain your lawn, don't let your kids wander around bare foot through the grass until it has been drenched by a hard rain. As far as fresh produce goes, the bottom line is that most experts agree that the potential benefits of eating fruits and vegetables far outweigh the risks from pesticide residues. However, for more than sixty years, farmers have been forced to use pesticides on their crops in order to produce a yield to meet consumer demand.
Without pesticides, our supermarkets would have little, if any produce to purchase from our farmers. What would be available would be too expensive for the average consumer to afford. It is obvious today that there is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables available to the average consumer. This is due greatly to advances in agricultural science, mainly pesticides.
There is approximately 600 USDA approved pesticides for use on fruits and vegetables. There are no laws to test the end product for residues. Before going to market, the grower may add additional surface pollutants to the fruits and vegetables to help their salability and increase their shelf life. Since Americans are accustomed to buying with their eyes, growers must make their fruits and vegetables look perfect. They usually apply waxes for that wholesome shiny appearance, and to reduce the speed of actual dehydration.
So, what can we do to minimize our exposure to chemicals and pesticides? We can look for certified organic fruits and vegetables. Emanuel Cheraskin, MD, D.M.D., professor emeritus at the University of Alabama, Birmingham also recommends vitamin and mineral supplements. Supplements, particularly antioxidant vitamins, can help your body break down and "detoxify" pesticides and other hazardous chemicals you encounter. Another solution is to use a laboratory-tested fruit and vegetable wash that removes contaminants, insecticides, herbicides and other pesticides from the surface of your fresh produce. These precautions are necessary to ensure that you and your loved ones are eating healthily, the way nature intended!
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