According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), apples are number 4 in the list of fruits and vegetables most likely to be highly contaminated with pesticides. Apples generally contain an average of 4.4 pesticide residues, including some at high concentrations. The Environmental Working Group is a respected and often quoted nonprofit organization that advocates for policies to protect global and individual health.
In its annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ the EWG ranks the pesticide contamination of 47 popular fruits and vegetables. The shoppers guide is based on the results of more than 38,800 samples of produce tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.
What is particularly startling when looking at these tests is that the fruits and vegetables were tested for pesticides after they had been prepared to be eaten. In other words, after they had been thoroughly washed.
How harmful are pesticide residues?
In the EWG’s 2018 study, 90 percent of conventional apples had detectable pesticide residues, and 80 percent of apples tested contained diphenylamine, a pesticide banned in Europe. Diphenylamine is an antioxidant chemical treatment, which prevents the skins of apples in cold storage from developing brown or black patches, known as “storage scald.”
Although The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reviewed the safety of diphenylamine in 1998 and concluded that its use posed no unacceptable risk to people or the environment, European officials enacted a restriction in 2014 on any imported apples and pears treated with the chemical. The concern of the European officials centered around the possible formation of nitrosamines on diphenylamine-treated fruit. Nitrosamines cause cancer in laboratory animals, and some studies have found that people who eat foods with nitrosamines have elevated rates of stomach and esophageal cancers.
In the US, over the past two decades, many of the most toxic pesticides have been withdrawn from many agricultural uses and banned from household use as well. Yet others, such as organophosphate insecticides, are still applied to certain crops. Sadly, most people in the US today know someone who is battling or has succumbed to some form of cancer. Do you ever wonder why all forms of cancer are on the rise?
Several long-term studies of American children initiated in the 1990s have found that children’s exposures to organophosphates were high enough to cause subtle but lasting damage to their brains and nervous systems. A group of recent studies suggest an association between consumption of fruits and vegetables with higher pesticide residues and fertility issues. Because these types of studies take many years to complete, we may learn about other negative health effects of ingesting pesticides in the future.
What else besides apples should always be purchased organic?
The EWG likes to focus on what it calls the Dirty Dozen – 12 fruits and vegetables that consumers should always buy organic because they contain the highest concentrations of pesticides. Top on that list are strawberries and spinach. After that, in order of pesticide concentration are: nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes and sweet bell peppers.
You can always trust the products you buy from North Coast Organic
If you are concerned about reducing pesticides in your foods, you can always trust what you buy from North Coast Organic. We make our North Coast Organic apple products with the freshest, tastiest 100% organic produce. Many of our apples are grown right here in Sebastopol, California. Besides being free of pesticides, we never add sugars, preservatives, colorings or flavorings, including ascorbic acid during our manufacturing process. That is our commitment to you.
If you would like to purchase our apple products, we invite you to check out where they are sold at markets and grocery stores near you.
North Coast Organic apple products are made in Sebastopol, CA from U.S. grown certified organic apples. They contain no added sugars, preservatives, colorings or flavorings.