Join Our Community

Are There Toxins on Your Produce?

Heal Your Life Blog

Are There Toxins on Your Produce?

Marcelle  Pick
Marcelle Pick More by this author
Jul 09, 2010 at 02:45 AM 0 comments

It’s the time of year when fruits and vegetables are at their absolute best. Backyard gardens, Farmer’s Markets and local vegetable stands are all brimming with sweet corn, juicy tomatoes, and green beans that snap. For many people, it is hard to imagine that some of these delicious fruits and vegetables could carry toxins—but if they aren’t certified organic they very well might!

The advantage of organic produce is that it's grown with far fewer toxic chemicals than conventional produce. We now know that direct exposure to some of the pesticides and herbicides used in conventional farming can affect our health.

Certain pesticides, herbicides and chemicals can harm the immune system or central nervous system. Others may raise the risk of cancer. As I talk about in my book, The Core Balance Diet, toxin build-up can hinder weight loss.

We now have reason to believe that residues from some of these chemicals are left behind on fruit, vegetables, and grains. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which monitors pesticide levels in foods, reported in 2006, that 64 percent of fruits and vegetables and 69 percent of wheat grains had measurable residue levels. These results were reported after the food had been power-washed by the USDA. Although some pesticide residue is found on the surface of foods, other pesticides may be taken up through the roots and into the plant and cannot be removed.

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit focused on public health, looked at approximately 100,000 produce pesticide reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to determine what fruits and vegetables we eat have the highest and lowest amounts of chemical residue.

They have defined the following “Dirty Dozen”—fruits and vegetables containing the highest content of pesticides and other toxins:  

  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Domestic blueberries
  • Nectarines
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Spinach, kale and collard greens
  • Cherries
  • Potatoes
  • Imported grapes
  • Lettuce

Please remember that all fresh produce, whether it's grown with or without chemicals, should be washed with water to remove dirt and potentially harmful bacteria.

Here’s a great produce wash you can try:

Put one-quarter cup of vinegar and two tablespoons of salt into a sink or bucket of your fruits and vegetables and let them soak for 15 minutes. This will eliminate much of the dirt, pesticide residue, and waxes and won’t affect the flavor! If needed, you can add a teaspoon or two of baking soda as a scrub. Be sure to rinse your produce thoroughly after scrubbing or soaking.

Share Your Thoughts Below