(NaturalHealth365) Most people who purchase conventionally grown produce know the importance of washing fruits and vegetables before consuming them. Naturally, you would think that rinsing crop foods would help remove some of the pesticides and chemicals applied to their exterior, making them safe to eat.
But, unfortunately, no amount of washing or peeling can make these foods safe. A different type of pesticide – systemic pesticides – are integrated into plant tissues, making the entire plant (including the part sold to consumers) poisonous to insects, fungi and other pests.
Fair warning for every person buying conventional fruits and vegetables
If the bad news is that systemic pesticides are designed for total absorption, the worse news is that they are not rare. In fact, hundreds of systemic pesticides have been developed in the past 15 years, making them the best-selling class of pesticide in the world.
They have been used in increasingly greater frequency since 1998 with no signs of slowing down in the near future. In other words, simply peeling off the thick skin of a banana or avocado is no long enough to protect us from dangerous toxic chemicals – pesticides are now in our food, not just on it.
A closer look at the toxins within our food supply
There are four primary types of pesticides that are applied systemically, each of which is approved for varying uses on different types of crops. Clothianidin and dinotefuran, for example, are often used to treat potatoes. Imidacloprid is another common systemic pesticide and is found primarily in leafy greens and other vegetables. In fact, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture, imidacloprid residues can be found in as many as three in every four conventionally grown heads of lettuce and broccoli.
Thiamethoxam is perhaps the most versatile of the systemic types of pesticides, having been approved for use on nearly all types of fruit and vegetable crops. This dangerous pesticide is absorbed and redistributed to all areas of a plant, including its pollen. Insects exposed to this pesticide experience lethal consequences, including disruption of the central nervous system and total paralysis.
The price we pay for using pesticides in our food supply
It has not even been two decades since systemic pesticides first became available, yet there are already serious consequences arising from their use. In April 2013, the European Union voted to temporarily ban the use of clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamexotham in response to data that suggests these pesticides could be responsible for the collapse of bee colonies around the world. The U.S., however, continues to use systemic pesticides in food in great quantities. In fact, the manufacturer of thiamethoxam lobbied the EPA for fewer restrictions on its poisonous pesticide as recently as September 2014.
Conventional food growers continue to use systemic pesticides for one reason – money. The truth is, these chemicals have saved them a lot of cash potentially at the cost of our environment and physical health. Of course, there have been very limited studies on the health consequences of systemic pesticides. So, we continue to consume a dangerous cocktail of these toxic chemicals without information about their long-term health consequences.
Clearly, we cannot rely on our government to keep our food supply free of toxic chemicals. American farmlands are contaminated with dangerous pesticides that are polluting our bodies from the inside out. Now, more than ever, it makes sense to support local (organic) farmers; join a CSA or grow your own chemical-free (delicious) produce.
After all, if a plant is poisonous to its predators, how could it possibly be safe for humans?