Pesticides: Following Healthy, Sensible Food Practices

Dangers of Pesticides for Children

With Earth Day less than a week away we are discussing why we should serve children organic foods this week.

Children are at a greater risk for some pesticides than adults for a number of reasons. Children’s internal organs are still developing and maturing and their enzymatic, metabolic, and immune systems may provide less natural protection than those of an adult. There are “critical periods” in human development when exposure to a toxin can permanently alter the way an individual’s biological system operates. Children may be exposed more to certain pesticides because often they eat different foods than adults.

For instance, children typically consume larger quantities of milk, applesauce, and orange juice per pound of body weight than do adults. Children’s behaviors, such as playing on the floor or on the lawn where pesticides are commonly applied, or putting objects in their mouths, increase their chances of exposure to pesticides.

Adverse effects of pesticide exposure range from mild symptoms of dizziness and nausea to serious, long-term neurological, developmental and reproductive disorders. Americans use more than a billion pounds of pesticides each year to combat pests on farm crops, in homes, places of business, schools, parks, hospitals, and other public places.
Because pesticides have many uses, we may be exposed to them in a variety of ways — through food, water, and air. You may reduce the amount of pesticides you consume by:
WASHING: Wash and scrub all fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water. Running water has an abrasive effect that soaking does not have. This will help remove bacteria and traces of chemicals from the surface of fruits vegetables and dirt from crevices. Not all pesticide residues can be removed by washing.
PEELING AND TRIMMING: Peel fruits and vegetables when possible to reduce dirt, bacteria, and pesticides. Discard outer leaves of leafy vegetables. Trim fat from meat and skin from poultry and fish because some pesticides residues collect in fat
SELECTING A VARIETY OF FOODS: Eat a variety of foods from a variety of sources. This will give you a better mix of nutrients and reduce your likelihood of exposure to a single pesticide.

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