(NaturalHealth365) Non-organic apples are almost always at the top of Environmental Working Group “dirty dozen” list due to their alarmingly high content of pesticides. On average, they have 4.4 detectable residues of pesticides, and in some cases at very high concentrations.
However, at least one of these chemicals is entirely unnecessary and the reason of its usage is shocking!
Most conventionally grown apples are covered in an added chemical treatment after harvest called diphenylamine. This is a substance intended to prevent apple skins from developing black or brown patches, or “storage scald,” while in storage or transport.
Testing by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2016 concluded that diphenylamine is present on about 80 percent of apples in concentrations of around .28 parts per million.
European regulators concerned about toxic chemicals on apples and other (non-organic) produce
The presence of this chemical is triggering intense international debate and is giving Americans yet another reason to favor organic fruits and vegetables.
While American apple growers insist it is a ‘benign and safe’ treatment, European officials don’t believe diphenylamine is harmless.
In 2014, they enacted a restriction on imported pears and apples treated with it. Apple exports from the U.S. have fallen by 2/3 since the restriction was enacted.
Since diphenylamine is sprayed on after harvest, it is found at higher concentrations than other pesticides. Diphenylamine has also been found in 36 percent of applesauce samples, although at lower levels and concentrations.
Cancer-causing nitrosamines can arise from the presence of diphenylamine
European officials cite the possible formation of nitrosamines on fruit treated with diphenylamine as cause for concern. Nitrosamines have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. Other studies have found persons who consume foods with nitrosamines have elevated stomach and esophageal cancer rates.
Nitrosamines form when compounds containing nitrogen like diphenylamine combine with amine compounds. Nitrosamines from diphenylamine or other chemicals have also been found to become more concentrated after sitting on store shelves.
Government agencies have been aware of the risks of nitrosamines since the 1970s and have regulated products to limit concentrations of chemicals that lead to nitrosamine formation.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reviewed diphenylamine back in 1998 and concluded it was not a risk to human health or the environment. Its safety is scheduled to be reassessed this year, but presently concentrations of diphenylamine are allowed in 5 parts per million on pears and 10 parts per million on apples.
More reasons than ever to favor organic produce and food products
Americans eat a lot of apples – around 10 pounds per year by some estimates. And, we know that consuming even low levels of nitrosamine can pose a health risk. Therefore, minimizing exposure to toxic pesticides and chemicals is essential to ongoing cellular and overall health.
Naturally, this information should represent added incentive to eat organic (locally produced) fruits and vegetables instead of foods grown using herbicides, pesticides and other toxic chemicals.
In addition to raw apples, health conscious consumers should also seek out organic versions of apple products such as apple juice, apple sauce, fruit bars or any other food containing apples. (read those labels and stay healthy!)
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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