Pesticides in Food

Pesticides – they’re everywhere. From the weed killer sprayed on lawns to the insecticides sprayed on conventional produce, the exposure can be extreme.

According to The Organic Center Critical Issue Report, “The average child in America is exposed to 10 to 13 pesticides daily in their food and drinking water.” Another study from The Environmental Working Group found that an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants were found in the umbilical cord blood of 10 babies born in the U.S. in 2004, and a Mercer Island Children’s Study found that the urine and saliva of 21 school-age children tested positive for insecticide residues.

Though these studies are concerning, there are positive things that can be done. Both the Mercer Island and the Organic Center studies found that once children switched to an organic diet, within fewer than five days, no residue was detected. Dr. Alex Lu of the Mercer study found that, “the transformation is extremely rapid … Once you switch from conventional food to organic, the pesticides … in the urine disappear.”

There are many things you can do to benefit of your child’s diet. Even if you cannot afford to go entirely organic, there are some foods to make sure to avoid. The top ten conventional produce with the most pesticide residue is peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, and imported grapes.

Even though rinsing helps, it does not eliminate pesticides. Peeling is pretty effective, but then you lose nutrients found in the skin. To avoid as many pesticides as possible, eat a varied diet, rinse all produce, and buy organic when you can.

Remember – it’s never too late to change your eating habits. Even if you’ve only eaten conventional produce, don’t give up hope for a healthier diet. It’s an organic apple away.


  1. So true. Then we only have to worry about arsenic in rice, flame retardants in couches, teflon in everything…. 🙂

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