Last week EWG came out with their annual “dirty dozen” (and here’s a CBS segment on the subject I was interviewed for). The dirty dozen summarizes the most highly contaminated produce and there’s also a “clean” list. Jenn, of Peas and Crayons wrote a terrific post on the subject. I’m always curious if consumers really take action based on the results. Sometimes it seems as though there’s the “already organic” camp who go organic to whatever extent they can afford. Then there’s the “organic schmorganic” camp (my mother is a member of) who dismiss the notion of organic is optimal. In the Venn diagram of produce purchasing the “Schmorganics” have substantial overlap with “organic = exorbitant”. Perhaps, if we stop and think what pesticides have the potential to do to us, people would be swayed. So, just how bad are pesticides?
“Cide” means to kill. When we, or our family members, ingest pesticides we are in ingesting something designed to kill. Sure, they are designed to kill pests but you would you take a hit from an exterminator’s can? As I said to CBS, every bodily system is affected by pesticides. From cancer to Parkinson’s the research is grim. A few examples:
Pesticides may harm your children, even if they’re not born yet
Pesticides kill insects by attacking their brains and nervous systems, it’s not surprising they affect the development of children’s brains. One study showed ADHD may be cause by damage to neurotransmitters that are affected by pesticides.
A study in the Journal Environmental Health Perspectives also suggests pesticides may be associated with the health and development of children. “Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health have found that prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides — widely used on food crops — is related to lower intelligence scores at age 7.”
What made this especially concerning was that the results were similar for the NYC children studied at Mt Sinai Medical Center as they were for the children in California living in an agricultural center in Monterey.
Pesticides can make you depressed and less fertile
Pesticides can affect your mood with studies showing depression associated with chronic pesticide exposure. Pesticides can affect those spermies and fertility. I always talk about pesticide exposure when I see clients who are TTC.
Pesticides can make you gain weight
We think about how certain medications make us gain weight, ever think about how each of the chemicals on your produce affect you? There’s an herbicide called atrazine that causes weight gain in rodents. The mice gained weight and in particular gained visceral fat that increases risk of heart disease. Atrazine is on of the most common pesticides used on crops, particularly on sweet corn.
Purchasing certified organic ensures that no pesticides are used. You want to eat your fruits and vegetables without a bad taste in your mouth…and those pesticides? They taste like crap too.
Are you “already organic”, “organic schmorganic or organic = exorbitant? Do you use the dirty/clean dozen to guide your decisions?