B.P. asks from Schooleys Mountain, NJ on May 28, 2010
Locally Grown Versus Organic Fruit
I just read an article linking pesticides to ADD in kids. I have long suspected a link between pesticides and the rise in these disorders in children. In the winter I only buy my son organic fruit but we have so many beautiful local farms nearby. Last year we enjoyed local strawberries, peaches, and apples. Not only are they delicious, they are fun to pick. I am feeling really torn because I worry about the pesticides (he loves fruit) but I don't want to miss out on the fresh just picked flavor and experience. I guess I could peel the fruit, but not in the case of strawberries. Any thoughts?
W.T. answers from San Diego on May 28, 2010
If it's one of the dirty dozen, ie, the fruits/veggies that have the most residue from pesticide use, I always use organic. Here's a link: http://www.slashfood.com/2010/05/03/organic-fruit-and-veg...
Otherwise, I sometimes will do non-organic. I would ask your local grower b/c a lot of them don't use pesticides, but don't certify as organic.
I guarantee there are other pick your own places you can go to that are organic or at least pesticide free. I really would hesitate doing non-organic....but that's me, I know a lot of people don't seem to care.
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S.T. answers from Washington DC on May 28, 2010
strawberries are one of the fruits that slurp up pesticides so that's one you might actually want to be a little anal about. but there are huge advantages to supporting local farmers, and many of them may well use sustainable no-spray programs but can't afford the absurd regulations involving the official organic label. talk to your farmers. it's also good for them to know there are local consumers who care about chemical-free produce and will patronize them if they decide to grow more naturally.
good for you for paying attention to the links between poisons and the rise of health issues in children. too many, including a depressing number of pediatrians, are too quick to pooh-pooh it.
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D.W. answers from Indianapolis on May 28, 2010
Be VERY careful reading into the news and hype about this story. Yes, there could be a link......but, it was a small study that needs a follow-up with a larger sampling of children to really understand the impact of organophosphates in connection with ADD/ADHD.
Organic produce uses pesticides, too. The EPA & USDA have several pesticides registered and certified that work differently than the ones mentioned in this article, malathion specifically.
Not all pesticides are neurotoxins. Be careful of the sites you derive your information from. Check with the EPA and USDA for information as it's required to be fair balanced. Check with your state's Departments of Agriculture as well to really understand what pesticides are being used for things like mosquito control and end-up in the air/water supplies as well - not just used on produce.
There are pesticides that the government has approved for Organic use. DowAgroSciences, for one, developed spinosad which is certified for organic use: http://www.dowagro.com/turf/prod/spinosad.htm
Most importantly, ask your pediatrician what they're opinion of the study is. They may have a different take on it after reading the entire study in "Pediatrics" vs. what the media has reported.
As much as this is important information regarding our children's safety, it will be a while before we really fully understand the possible implications of this particular class of pesticides (organophosphates) vs. other pesticides available.
I'm a huge fan of Farmer's markets. Ask the growers what they use to treat their produce, and always thoroughly wash any fruits/vegetables thoroughly.
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M.H. answers from Atlanta on May 28, 2010
Absolutely B., pesticides cause neurological damage. I agree with the other moms that you should stay with organic. If you really want to eat local, talk to the farmers. When you go to a U-Pick or the farmer's market the farmer's are usually there to talk with you. See what they use. We had a peach orchard and used little to no pesticides and got a very small harvest but it was worth it to me not to eat the pesticides. If you consult your county agent, you will find that most of the pesticides are not only neurological toxins, but respiratory toxins and also store in the body to contraindicate with other synthetic chemicals that we are exposed to. We had to sign a waver just to get the training we needed to handle them.
There are 50,000 new chemicals on the market in the last 30 years. There are lots of reasons that we have an increase in ADD, ADHD, Autism, cancers, asthma, etc. I believe it is directly linked to the damage these chemicals are doing to our bodies.
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L.D. answers from Las Vegas on May 28, 2010
I agree with you that eating organic whenever possible is really the best route to take with our children, especially our little ones that have a more difficult time clearing xeno-toxins from their body or have a compromised immune system. And haven't you found that organic produce tastes a whole lot better than commercially grown fruits and vegetables? I can definitely tell the difference with broccoli.
Here's are a couple of good article about organic vs. local produce that may help you get a better insight on what kind of produce is best for you and your family:
A.C. answers from Cincinnati on May 28, 2010
First of all, you should know that you do not HAVE to avoid all non-organic fruits and veg to avoid pesticides. There is a great list on a website of the Dirty Dozen (foods you should ALWAYS buy organic: http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/eat-safe/Dirt..., and it's counterpart, foods that are low in pesticides regularly (http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/eat-safe/Save.... If one of the cleaner foods is one you regularly buy locally, I would absolutely continue to do so. However, the Dirty Dozen has been published by multiple sources, and it is important that those foods are purchased pesticide- and hormone-free!
If you go to pick fruits or onto the farms themselves, this is a great opportunity to talk to your local farmers about what pesticides they use. You might be pleasantly surprised. The "organic" certification is very expensive, and many small farms cannot afford it. Some small farms may then go ahead and use whatever they want, but others strive to be safe even without the label. Before giving up on local farms, find out what efforts they are making to be green.
UPDATE: Not sure why my links aren't working right. Maybe I have to be more creative. The links again are:
If those still don't work, send me a PM and I'll send them to you that way. Also, make sure you notice that the Dirty Dozen has been updated for this year, whereas the Clean List has not yet.