What Is a Pesticide?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the government body that regulates pesticides in the U.S., a pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.
Though often misunderstood to refer only to insecticides, the term pesticide also applies to herbicides, fungicides, and various other substances used to control pests.
Pesticides also include plant regulators, defoliants and desiccants.
3 Reasons To Wash Your Fruit & Veggies
For a Healthy Brain
According to a 2008 paper, published in the journal Frontiers in Bioscience, a number of pesticides are considered to be neurotoxins and can affect both mammals and humans.
One particular class of chemicals, called organophosphates, was actually developed into a toxic nerve agent during World War II.
Studies have suggested a strong association between pesticide exposure and the development of Parkinson’s Disease – a chronic and progressive movement disorder which affects around one million Americans.
To Reduce the Risk of Cancer
In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, came to the conclusion that glyphosate is a ‘probable’ cancer-causing substance.
Glyphosate is the most widely used pesticide worldwide and is a key ingredient in hundreds of crop-control agents and weed killers, including Bronco, KleenUp, Rodeo, Roundup and Weedoff.
Worryingly, this chemical is abundant in our environment.
In 2011, a report on the levels of glyphosate in the air and rain water of Iowa and Mississippi was published in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. The chemical was detected in between 60% and 100% of all air and rain samples tested.
In Europe, over 40% of Spanish groundwater samples tested positive for glyphosate.
What’s much worse is that German research found this chemical has made its way into the human body. Urine samples from people in 18 different countries across Europe showed that 44% of people have glyphosate in their systems.
This chemical has also been detected in human blood and even breast milk!
Glyphosate isn’t the only chemical linked to cancer. Based on animal studies, many pesticides are considered carcinogenic (including organochlorines, creosote, and sulfallate) while others (DDT, chlordane and lindane) are thought to be tumor promoters.
To Protect Children’s Health
As children’s systems and vital organs are still developing, they are more susceptible to toxins than adults.
In November 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics warned that early life exposure to pesticides is associated with pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function and behavioral problems.
In Mexico, preschool children exposed to pesticides were found to have less stamina, worse gross and fine eye-hand coordination, worse 30-minute memory, and were less well able to draw a person than children living in other regions that weren’t exposed to the same level of toxins.
Other studies have linked parental exposure to pesticides with the occurrence of brain cancer in children.
How to Wash Fruits
Smooth skinned fruits, such as apples, nectarines, and cherries, can be washed in a baking soda bath the same way as veggies.
Berries can be rinsed under cold water in a mesh strainer, then gently patted dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels just before you intend to eat them.
Although your instinct may be to rinse off berries when you bring them home, doing so actually increases moisture and accelerates spoilage, microflora, and mold. Which is why it’s best to rinse them soon before you eat them.
How to Wash Vegetables
In the studies mentioned above, researchers cleaned produce much longer than most of us would on an ordinary day. But this should not prevent us from putting their methods to use.
Most people would never wash vegetables for longer than a couple of minutes, so we’ve adapted the results of these studies to more practical everyday use.
Admittedly, it won’t be quite as effective as study results, but it should be more effective than plain water.
Here’s a quick and easy way to wash veggies using baking soda:
For leafy greens – Broccoli, Kale, Spinach Etc
- Fill a salad spinner with greens, then fill with water.
- Add a teaspoon of baking soda and mix well.
- Soak your greens for a minute, swish, dump, then rinse, and spin dry.
- If you don’t have a salad spinner, you can add the greens, water, and baking soda to a bowl, let them soak, drain in a strainer, rinse, then pat leaves dry with a clean lint-free kitchen towel or paper towels.
There is some debate in the culinary world about how to clean mushrooms.
Some chefs prefer to gently wipe mushrooms with a damp towel.
However, to clean mushrooms thoroughly. You can gently scrub mushrooms using a mushroom brush and then rinse them quickly under running water.
After that, blot the mushrooms dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.
For other veggies
- Fill a large bowl with water.
- Then add a teaspoon of baking soda.
- Add the veggies.
- Soak for a minute or two.
- Scrub with a brush.
- And finally, rinse off the veggies.
You can also make your own homemade spray to give a quick wash to the fruits and vegetables. Just follow the procedure mentioned below:
- Take a spray bottle and add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. A cup of purified water and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
- Shake the solution well.
- Spray the wash generously on the produce.
- Rub them by hand for around 20-30 seconds or you can also use a vegetable brush.
- Rinse them thoroughly with water.