andrew schneider investigates

March 11, 2008

Imported produce = more chemical residue

The average American is exposed to between 10 and 13 pesticide residues each day from food, beverages and drinking water, and the levels and risks are very low in most instances, said Dr. Alan Greene, chairman of The Organic Center.

But this is not always the case.

Fresh produce at Pike Place Market Photo by Andrew Schneider

Greene writes in the introduction of a lengthy new study examining pesticides on fruit and vegetables:

Some of these exposures pose clear risks, particularly when they occur during pregnancy and the first years of life. … There is a growing recognition in the scientific and medical communities that pesticide exposure is a major risk factor in the development of neurological conditions from ADHD to Alzheimer’s disease.

Charles Benbrook, the center’s chief scientist and author of the study, “Simplifying the Pesticide Risk Equation: The Organic Option” says:

There are clear, and in some cases, dramatic upward spikes in pesticide residue levels and risks during the winter months when imports account for a large share of perishable fresh fruits and vegetables in the market place.

The study lists the foods accounting for the greatest pesticide risks per serving. Benbrook explains the significant difference between the summer, when mostly U.S. grown produce is consumed, and the winter months, when imports account for a large percent of sales. He says this is especially true for perishable fruits and vegetables that do not store well for long periods, such as grapes, berries, peaches, tomatoes and spinach. He says:

Imported fruits and vegetables, unless grown organically, will remain a major pesticide dietary risk concern, especially in the winter.

The Center offers a pocket-size listing of foods and their average pesticide levels at the link above.


Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: