Five Reasons to Eat Organic Apples

Author: Beth Hoffman

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There are good reasons to eat organic and locally raised fruits and vegetables. For one, they usually taste better and are a whole lot fresher.

Which single piece of produce could have the greatest impact on agriculture, the environment and your family’s health, all at once?

The data says: Apples

Reason #1: The average conventionally grown apple has more pesticide residue on it than any other fruit or vegetable.
According to the Environmental Working Group‘s analysis of USDA data, pesticides showed up on 98 percent of the more than 700 apple samples tested (yes, they were washed). And it wasn’t just one pesticide either – apples from around the country, domestically grown and imported, were found to have up to 48 different kinds of pesticides on them. While less than the 69 types used on cucumbers, that’s still far more than the single pesticide found in sweet corn (shucked) or the 15 on oranges (peeled).

Reason #2: We are not quite sure what some of those pesticides do to humans or the environment.
Apples are commonly sprayed with Syngenta‘s Paraquat, a pesticide under scrutiny for a possible link to Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, apple growers in Michigan received an exemption for the last three years (and have recently applied again) for “emergency use” of the unapproved antibiotic kasugamycin. While not an antibiotic currently in use by humans, data on its affects on ground water and animal reproduction and development are not known.

Reason #3: Farm owners and workers like to live and work in safe environments too.
Even if the pesticide residues break down and are no longer found on the apple when you purchase it, those who spray the pesticides, and their communities, are affected by the chemicals directly. The problem with chemical use on farms is that someone has to apply them, and often communities nearby are hit with pesticide “drift.” A study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) last year found:

According to the USDA, in addition to the 81 percent of conventional apple orchards which spray organophosphates on apple orchards, carbamates and pyrethroids are also used nation wide (on 35% and 29% of fields, respectively). Chlorpyrifos, a chemical linked to lowered IQ and higher incidence of ADHD in children is also still sprayed on 59 percent of apple orchards in the U.S., endangering the general public and those children living in rural areas.

Reason #4: Apples are one of the country’s favorite fruits – and eating more organic apples could immediately impact farming.
Not only is apple pie American, so are apples. The third most consumed fruit in the U.S. (next to oranges and grapes), apples generate $2.2 billion a year. 350,000 acres in the U.S. are dedicated to growing the fruit, and apples can be grown in all 50 states, although 60 percent of them are currently grown in Washington. Yet organic orchards currently account for only 6 percent of apple acreage in the country, even though organic apples are one of the most popular organic fruits.

Reason #5 Organic apples don’t cost an arm and a leg, and are a great snack.
The cost of an organic apple can be as high as $2.99 a pound and as low as $.99. And at about 1/2 of a pound a piece – that means the most expensive organic apples you can buy would run you only $1.50 a pop. Eating five of them a month would be only $90 a year – a cost most American households can bear. (Although this is more apples than most households currently consume – a discussion for another article perhaps).

An apple a day, it turns out, can do far more than just keep the doctor away.

Source:
The Most Important Foods to Buy Organic
5 Reasons to Love Organic

6 Ways to Reduce Children’s Pesticide Exposure

U.S. News & World Report recommends the following steps:

  1. Buy organic fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables most likely to be grown using pesticides, if they are not organic, include celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, and blueberries. I’m a strict believer in the Dirty Dozen Rule.
  2. Detoxify your lawn. If you have a lawn care service, make sure they are not using the organophosphate pesticide trichlorfon.
  3. Clean out your shed. The pesticide diazinon (sold under the brand names Diazinon or Spectracide) has been banned from residential, but there might be some left in your old garden shed.
  4. Use natural cures for a lice infection. Malathion is used for treatment of head lice. Don’t put a neurotoxin on your child’s head.
  5. Check your school’s pest control policy. If they have not already done so, encourage your school district to move to Integrated Pest Management, which uses less toxic alternatives.
  6. Choose Safe Water Bottles. Due to public pressure, many manufacturers are opting against the chemical, and labeling their products “BPA-free.” Still, plastics wear over time, and should not be heated. The safest option is high quality stainless steel (look for 18/8 or 18/10 on the bottom) or an aluminum bottle with a water-based, nontoxic lining, such as those from Sigg.


SIGG stands for premium reusable water bottles. With over 100 years expertise The Original Swiss Bottle demonstrates worldwide quality and craftsmanship.

The beautiful shape is one of the reasons that SIGG was incorporated into the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New-York. SIGG bottles are 100% recyclable and contribute to improving the world’s carbon footprint.

 

The problem with pesticide exposure is that the majority of the negative reactions occur sometime in the future.  The scientific literature has already established convincing associations between pesticide exposure and neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and muscular sclerosis.

Now, a study in the journal Pediatrics has found disturbing links between some of the most commonly used pesticides and a significantly increased risk of ADHD symptoms in children.

Common Pesticides Linked to ADHD

In this study, the urine of 1,139 children between the ages of 8 and 15 were tested for six pesticide metabolites. One hundred and nineteen of the children were diagnosed with ADHD.

Children with a ten-fold increase in metabolites from the pesticide malathion (found in head lice treatments) were 55 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, and those with higher than average levels of metabolites from dimethyl thiophosphate were 93 percent more likely to have ADHD compared to those with undetectable levels of this marker. The bottom line here is to make sure whatever product you choose to buy read your labels and do your research. As consumers we have to be very Leary about certain products with foreign chemicals we’re unaware of.  Call the company directly, consult with your pediatrician and do your research. 

 

Here are some other non-chemical alternatives you can consider:

Essential Oils: The oils of anise and ylang ylang, combined with coconut oil into a natural spray has been found to be highly effective, eliminating about 92 percent of head lice. Anise and ylang ylang contain essential oils, which are generally antibacterial, anti fungal, and insecticidal. These oils have long been known to have such effects; one related study found that the essential oil of an African plant, Lippia multiflora, was more effective against head and body lice than the conventional treatment.

Olive Oil: Applying olive oil to the entire scalp for a minimum of two hours may be useful. You can also sleep with a shower cap on and use the olive oil over night. I would not advise any other oil as olive oil is the safest food oil to use. The oil coats the lice and may serve to suffocate them.

Heat: The hot dry air produced by standard hand-held hair dryers may suffice to kill lice and their eggs on your hair. Use great care if you try this method, as the heated air from these devices can also easily scald the hair and the scalp.

Similarly, a clothes dryer set a high heat or a hot pressing iron will kill any lice or their eggs on pillowcases, sheets, nightclothes, towels and similar items that might spread them to others. Combs, brushes, hats and other hair accessories in contact with an infested person should be washed in hot water each day to dislodge any lice or nits.

Freezing: Lice and their eggs on inanimate objects such as toys may be killed by freezing temperatures. Objects that cannot be heated in your clothes dryer can be placed in your freezer instead. This treatment may require several days to be effective, depending on the temperature and humidity.

Haircuts: Lice will find little to grasp on a bald or shaved head. Although competitive swimmers who shave their heads generally need not be concerned about head lice, many parents may find this old-fashioned method to be aesthetically unappealing. Short hair is more readily searched for lice and eggs, but does not make the child invulnerable to infestation.

Lice may also occasionally be found on eyelashes or other facial hair. These lice should be removed by hand with great care so as not to injure the eye; insecticides should NEVER be used on or around the eye. 

 

Resources:

  1. Safety and efficacy of a non-pesticide-based head lice treatment: Study
  2. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/on-parenting/2010/05/17/pesticides-5-ways-to-reduce-childrens-exposure
  3. http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-01-30-lindane_N.htm?csp=34
  4.  http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2010/05/17/peds.2009-3058.abstract

Choose Organic Produce Where It Matters Most

 

Organic on a BUDGET

Organic foods can cost more than non-organic, sometimes 40 to 50 percent more. Here are some ways to stay within your budget while significantly reducing your pesticide load:

  • Choose organic where it counts: such as when purchasing the items listed below, whose conventionally grown versions contain the most pesticides.
  • Know when you can skip organic:  While there are many reasons to buy organic foods, not everyone can find fresh organic produce at their supermarket, or afford the premium price tags. Certain fruits and vegetables are very low in pesticide residues so buying organic isn’t as important. Some examples include: asparagus, avocados, onions, sweet corn, pineapple, mango and grapefruit.
  • Choose low-fat organic or grass-fed milk and meat. Toxins tend to accumulate in animal fat.
  • Wash all produce:  Washing helps remove pesticides and bacteria introduced during handling and shipping.
  • Steam leafy greens:  Cooking vastly reduces pesticides and E. coli and retains most nutrients.
  • Peel carrots, cucumbers, etc. This won’t get at the systemic pesticides that are inside, but it will remove any that are on or in the skin.
  • Buy local:  Regional farms serving local markets can skip the harsh chemicals that are used on crops intended for distant markets. Local Harvest makes it easy to find local food outlets in your area.
  • Buy frozen. Flash-freezing locks in nutrients. Use Local Harvest to find stores that sell frozen organic produce grown in your region.
  • Make more meals from scratch using fresh, whole, local ingredients. You’ll save money and avoid not only pesticides but also unhealthy additives like sugar, salt and fat.

Buy USDA Certified Organic                                                                                                          (As the conventional varieties of these produce items are highest in PESTICIDES)

  1. Apples
  2. Bell peppers
  3. Carrots
  4. Celery
  5. Cherries
  6. Grapes (imported)
  7. Kale
  8. Lettuce
  9. Nectarines
  10. Peaches
  11. Pears
  12. Potatoes
  13. Strawberries
  14. Sweet peppers