When is eating organic essential to Baby's health?

4.07.2008

I thought this was very informative.

Which Fruits & Veggies Should You Buy Organic?

Of course you wash the produce you purchase before you serve it to your family. And you might even peel it as well. But there still may be unsafe levels of toxic pesticides present if they’ve not been grown organically, says the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a not-for-profit environmental research organization. Here is its list of the top 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables (worst to least offenders), which may help you choose which foods to buy organic.

Peaches
According to trials done by the EWG, peaches had the highest likelihood in the fruit-offender category of multiple pesticides on a single sample—86.6 percent had two or more pesticide residues— followed by nectarines (85.3 percent) and apples (82.3 percent). Need a refresher on pesticides? Not just bug killers, pesticides are any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Apples
There's no doubt that apples are good for you—recent research even says they can help pregnant women and young children avoid breathing problems—but the EWG found that apples contained the most pesticides of all the top-contaminated fruits, with some combination of up to 50 pesticides found on the samples tested.

Sweet Bell Peppers
The vegetable found with the most pesticides detected on a single sample and the most pesticides overall, sweet bell peppers may be especially disadvantaged because we typically don't peel them before we eat them. A note about peeling veggies: In testing the full list of 44 foods, the EWG did consider how people typically wash and prepare produce (for example, apples were washed before testing and bananas were peeled). The group recommends always washing fruits and vegetables before consuming them, organic or not. "Peeling also reduces exposures [in non-organic produce], but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the peel," says the EWG.

Celery
Crunch! Sadly, super-snackable celery was found to be the vegetable with the highest of percentage of samples that tested positive for the highest number pesticides (94.1 percent), followed by sweet bell peppers (81.5 percent) and potatoes (81.0 percent). (And that peanut butter? Some experts say that because peanuts are grown underground and are often treated with chemicals and because kids consume so much of it, parents ought to choose organic there, as well.)

Nectarines
Before you send your child off to daycare with one again, know this: Of the fruits evaluated by the EWG, nectarines had the highest percentage of samples test positive for pesticides (97.3 percent), followed by peaches (96.6 percent) and apples (93.6 percent).

Strawberries
Those gorgeous summer staples, strawberries are a kid favorite because they're oh-so-sweet and can be eaten by the handful. But especially if your family does eat lots of these, consider switching to organic: The EWG found eight pesticides on a single sample in its study. Another reason to make the switch? Some growers believe cultivating strawberries organically makes them naturally tastier, as well. (As if you needed a reason to eat more of them!)

Cherries
Why be concerned about pesticides on cherries and other produce? "Because the toxic effects of pesticides are worrisome, not well understood, or in some cases completely unstudied, shoppers are wise to minimize exposure to pesticides whenever possible," says the EWG.

Lettuce
If you knew there might be nine pesticides on the head of lettuce your family was going to eat tonight, would you still buy it? Something to consider when you're next choosing between organic and conventionally grown salad greens ...

Grapes
(Imported)
The EWG tested both domestic and imported grapes for pesticides and found that ones grown outside of and shipped to this country had far more pesticides. So if you're not going to choose organic grapes, at least try for ones that are grown in the United States—and, of course, eating locally is an even more ecologically friendly option

Pears
Yeesh: These treats scored a 65 on the EWG's possible 100 points for toxicity. But if you opt for organic, instead, what exactly would that mean? Here, the Mayo Clinic details the differences between conventionally and organically grown produce.

Spinach
If you're looking for your family to benefit from the iron, calcium, and lots of vitamins in spinach, the EWG recommends choosing an organic variety. (Non-organic scored 60 out of a possible toxic 100 points.) (But yes, that was organic spinach that was affiliated with the 2006 e-coli outbreak. Read the Center for Global Food Issues' statement on how organic farming may have contributed to the problem.)

Potatoes
Here's a sad statistic: French fries are one the most common vegetable eaten by babies between 15 and 18 months, a recent study shows. And considering that the EWG puts potatoes as number 10 on its list of most-contaminated produce, we all might consider how doubly bad for us all those fries are. In fact, pediatrician and author Dr. Alan Greene, MD, even puts potatoes on his list of top five musts for parents interested in making the switch to organic; read his reasons here.

The Worst Offenders
To recap, the EWG says these 12 fruits and vegetables carry the greatest amount of pesticides (listed in order from most to least):
Peaches
Apples
Sweet Bell Peppers
Celery
Nectarines
Strawberries
Cherries
Lettuce
Grapes (Imported)
Pears
Spinach
Potatoes See the full list of tested foods, here.

The Safest 12
Which was the top produce found to have the least amount of pesticides by the EWG?
Onions
Avocado
Sweet corn (frozen)
Pineapple
Mango
Sweet peas (frozen)
Asparagus
Kiwi
Bananas
Cabbage
Broccoli

Why Is Organic Important for Babies & Toddlers?
Both the EWG and the EPA agree that for developing little bodies, pesticides can be especially dangerous. The EPA explains:
In relation to their body weight, infants and children eat and drink more than adults, possibly increasing their exposure to pesticides in food and water.
Playing on floors or lawns or putting objects in their mouths may increase a child's exposure to pesticides used in homes and yards.
Pesticides may harm a developing child by blocking the absorption of important food nutrients necessary for normal healthy growth.
If a child's excretory system is not fully developed, the body may not fully remove pesticides.
There are "critical periods" in human development when exposure to a toxin can permanently alter the way an individual's biological system operates.

2 comments:

Mandy said...

Shelley directed me here b/c she knows I'm so into organics and such. I only buy organic baby food, I was doing homemade but could find VERY little organic fresh produce to use.. so I switched to the way too expensive jarred. :P For the rest of us, I buy organic in whatever I can find. Apples especially... our kids go through them like crazy! WalMart here sometimes has organic celery... not this past time I went though. Regularly I'm getting organic apples, raisins, applesauce, carrots, and sometimes even bread. More and more things are going organic.. I'm so happy!

jaime pott photography said...

I agree. I think that if more people are informed about organic things more will buy and then the prices will hopefully go down. Who knows though.

Etsy Love!

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