Pesticide exposure has sky-rocketed over the past few years, and health concerns are on the rise as well, as more and more studies of pesticide data have revealed the devastating impact insecticide and chemicals in repellents have on unborn babies.
The approach used by chemists in the department of agriculture and environmental protection agency to detect the maximum residue levels and maximum residue limit of produce samples is the QuEChERS method. A recent study released last month has shown a high correlation between unborn infants and children whose mothers live near farms that use non-organic pesticides and autism.
Such chemicals cause long-term health effects and development of diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and cancer. If you are concerned for your health and for the health of your family, here you will find nine efficient ways that will help you reduce your exposure to pest control chemicals in a fast and effortless manner:
1. Always Wash The Produce Before Eating Them
This is the golden rule if you want to stay on the food safety side: make sure to always wash your fruits and vegetables before eating them, even if you have just picked them up from your garden. It is of utmost importance to thoroughly rinse the produce and to make sure there is no dust, dirt or chemical residues found.
Also, make sure to either rub the fruits and vegetables with your fingers or to use a special cleaning brush to remove all the residue and bacteria. There are some antibiotic-resistant bacteria which has tolerance against different sterilization techniques but they are only common on contaminated food due to unsanitary measures in preparation. Washing the produce is particularly important in eliminating health risks if you plan to consume the products in raw form, instead of cooking them.
2. Grow Your Own Fruits And Veggies In Your Garden
The only way to be sure that you are eating 100% natural products is by growing them yourself. This way, you will always know exactly what repellents and products you have used before, during and after you have cultivated the seeds, therefore you can easily determine the pesticide chemical load you and your family are exposing yourselves to. You are also sure that there are no food additives apart from what you include when preparing the dishes.
With only several hundred square feet, some spare time, a minimal investment and a lot of determination, you can grow your own produce without having to worry about ingesting pesticides and chemical fertilizers once they ripe. Besides this, the great news is that there are many perennial crops (such as berries) that are very rewarding, while requiring minimal work.
3. Buy Only Unsprayed Or Organic Products
Another great idea to reduce your overall exposure to pesticides is to become committed to buying only organic or unsprayed produce. Beware of imported foods or processed foods that went through many procedures. Nowadays, every store and supermarket has an aisle dedicated exclusively to organic food products, and these fruits and veggies are usually market with a special inscriptions.
Some farmers use glyphosate, a weed-killing chemicals. While it is only dangerous for humans in larger doses, it’s considered a much safer option for killing weeds. But as you won’t know what were used on your produce, it’s best to stick with organic products you can find in your local store. For more info about food safety,
Organic products tend to be slightly more expensive than the commercially sprayed ones, yet they are worth every cent, as they have a significantly lower levels or zero pesticide load. However, even if the products are marked as organic, you must still wash them thoroughly before consuming them, just to remove the bacteria that may have deposited on the fruits and vegetables during handling and transportation.
4. Dry The Produce Before Consumption
Washing your fruit and vegetables is not enough if you want to reduce the pesticide load you expose yourself at, as it is very important to thoroughly dry them with disposable paper towels as well. This will remove all the remaining pesticide residue and make the produce safer to eat.
5. Harvest Your Products From The Forest
If you do not have a garden where you can grow your own fruits and vegetables or you simply do not have the time for it, yet you do not want to make any compromise in terms of health, then another great idea would be to harvest your products from a nearby forest. The reason why getting berries, mushrooms and other products from forests is safer than buying them from commercial stores is because the soil, the water and the air in these areas is significantly less polluted – the deeper you dive into the nature, the lower the pesticide load.
In addition to this, harvesting your products directly from Mother Nature also saves you a lot of money and trouble, provided that you know how to distinguish the edible mushrooms from the dangerous ones. Mother Nature has always been generous to us, and if you want to keep pesticides at bay, then head towards the first forest where you can find plenty of pure, healthy and delicious wild fruits.
6. Never Rinse Your Fruits And Vegetables With Soap
One of the most common mistakes people tend to do these days in their attempt to remove all pesticide residue from their produce is that they wash their fruits and vegetables with soap or, even worse, dish soap. Never use detergents, special rinses or soaps of any kind, as this will only do more harm than good. Unless the soap is entirely made of natural and organic materials, it tends to contain harmful compounds that easily penetrate the skin of the fruits, thus doing more harm than the actual pesticides after you ingest them.
Simply wash the products either with tap water or distilled water and then dry them either with a piece of white cloth or with a disposable paper towel. It is also highly recommended to install a water filter that will remove all the chlorine and other potentially harmful compounds from the tap water, before you drink it or use it for cooking.
7. Use Only Organic Repellents For Your Garden
If you have decided to grow your own fruits and veggies, you will find it very difficult – if not impossible – to keep the pests at bay without using a repellent. Fortunately, there are a wide array of safe, organic and soybean-based repellents on the market that are just as efficient as the classic ones, the sole difference being that the organic products do not use any DEET chemicals, insecticides or active substances that can wreak havoc on your health.
8. Peel The Outer Layers
Even after having washed the produce, it is highly recommended to either throw away the outer layers of dark leafy greens and other vegetables, or to gently peel it. It is not uncommon for the pesticide compounds to enter the peel of the products, and you cannot get rid of this pesticide load by simply washing and drying the produce. It may sound wasteful, but it is surely a small compromise for living a healthy life!
9. Identify The Fruits And Vegetables With The Highest Pesticide Load
Although there is no way to exactly determine the pesticide load in fruits and vegetables without using state of the art equipment, you can still identify those that pose a higher danger of pesticide residue according to many risk assessment studies.
Check out the the Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen.
Some these products are peppers, peaches, apples and berries, as they are the most likely to be attacked by pests, thus requiring additional “attention”. At the opposite end, bananas, watermelon and corn tends to have a lower pesticide load, which means they are safer to consume.