Apr
17
2021

Which are the Most and Least Contaminated Crops

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Farmers are spraying many crops with pesticides, so which are the most and least contaminated crops? Recently, the Environmental Working Group’s 2021 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce was published. The various fruit and vegetables are also called the “dirty dozen”. You see from this readily that the most contaminated crops are strawberries, followed by spinach and kale, collard and mustard greens. Nectarines, apples and grapes are next followed by cherries, peaches and pears. The list is made complete by bell and hot peppers, celery and tomatoes.

Safety of food

This means that it is not safe to eat any of these fruit and vegetables from regular crops, as they are all contaminated by pesticides. It is advisable to exchange these crops and buy the organic version of each instead. This is easy to do, and I have done this for years. If you have a garden or access to a community garden, you can also grow some of them yourself.

What pesticides do in the body

People can acquire pesticides orally as contamination of crops. But people can absorb them as well by inhalation or through the skin. People affected by pesticides may complain about a sore throat, a cough, eye and skin irritation. They also may develop a headache, loss of consciousness, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. In the worst case there can be profound weakness, seizures and death.

You may think:” Why worry? There is probably just a little bit left, and this surely will not harm me.” But make no mistake: many of the pesticides are hormone disruptors, and that “little bit” does matter!

Action of hormone disruptors

Hormone disruptors may have a molecular structure similar to estrogen. As a result, laboratory analysis may show smaller semen counts in males causing infertility.  Women can develop cysts in the ovaries, menstrual bleeding abnormalities and breast cancer. With pregnancy pesticides can cause early miscarriages. In addition, women can also have fertility problems as a result of hormone disruptors.

A French study showed that consumption of organic food reduces cancer risk

One way to find out what pesticides (insecticides) are doing to the body is to do a comparative study. In France researchers compared cancer rates between people who consumed organic food and others who ate regular food (treated with pesticides). Researchers recruited 68,946 French adults for the study. More than ¾ of the study population were women in their mid 40’s. Researchers divided these subjects into 4 groups depending on how many of 16 organic food groups they were consuming.

Details of the French study (organic food intake versus non-organic food intake)

First of all, the type of foods included fruit and vegetables, ready-to-eat meals, meat and fish, vegetable oils and condiments, dietary supplements and other products. Also, the investigators followed this population for an average of 4 ½ years. Finally, during that time 1,340 cancers developed. 459 breast cancers occurred, 180 prostate cancers, 135 skin cancers, 99 colorectal cancers and 47 non-Hodgkin lymphomas.

Those who ate the most organic food developed 25% less cancer on average. When it came to Hodgkin’s lymphoma, organic food consumers developed 73% less of it than people on regular food. Postmenopausal breast cancer was 21% less frequent among those who had the highest amount of organic food.

The least contaminated fruit and vegetables

The Environmental Working Group’s 2021 Shopper’s Guide for the least contaminated fruit and vegetables lists the following. Avocados, sweet corn, pineapples and onions. Papayas, frozen sweet peas, eggplant, asparagus, broccoli and cabbage are next. Finally, kiwifruit, cauliflower, mushrooms, honeydew and cantaloupe complete the list of the least contaminated crops. This means that you can buy these crops without concern whether or not you should buy the organic version. It is good to know what is acceptable and what you need to avoid by buying the organic version.

GMO foods and Roundup

It is interesting that there is no law in the US and in Canada that GMO foods should have a label that identifies crops with genetic modifications. This is changing rapidly as people realize that in many countries of Europe all GMO foods require labeling. Here is a publication that shows that the GMO labeling campaign is gaining momentum.

Genetically modified corn and soy contains the Bt toxin; it has been found in babies as mentioned in this article. Bt toxin damages the small bowel (the ileum) through Cry1Ab (the protein produced in genetically modified corn and soy). This in turn disables the absorption of vitamin B12. We know that this causes anemia. Historically the cause of pernicious anemia was due to a lack of vitamin B12 absorption.

Effects of Roundup

In a publication dated April 2013 Drs. Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff discuss the effects of Roundup. They noticed that glyphosate inhibits the cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes in the liver. This is a crucial detoxification enzyme complex. When toxicity studies of glyphosate in mammals emerged, this was not common knowledge. The CYP enzymes in the liver are important to metabolize and eliminate estrogens and also help to detoxify xenobiotics, which are estrogen-like substances (residues from insecticides).

Glyphosate amplifies the effect of environmental toxins

Thus glyphosate (=” Roundup”) amplifies the damaging effect of environmental toxins and chemical residues from non-organic food that we eat. Researchers have shown a build-up of estrogens and xenoestrogens that are responsible for the development of many cancers (atypical Hodgkin’s lymphoma, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer etc.). Based on this data it makes sense to switch to as much organic food as you can afford. Organic food does not contain Roundup. For the sake of your health at least stay away from the “dirty dozen”!

Which are the Most and Least Contaminated Crops

Which are the Most and Least Contaminated Crops

Conclusion

The poisoning of the food chain is a real concern. As far as pesticides (insecticides) are concerned the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce has been extremely useful. They publish a yearly guide of the “dirty dozen”, but also of the least contaminated fruit and vegetables. Regular crops with pesticide residues can cause infertility in both men and women. They also can cause early miscarriages in pregnant women. Generally speaking, they can cause headaches, loss of consciousness, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. In the worst case there can be profound weakness, seizures and death. A French study showed that subjects on organic food developed 25% less cancer on average. When it came to Hodgkin’s lymphoma, organic food consumers developed 73% less of it than people on regular food. Postmenopausal breast cancer was 21% less frequent among those who had the highest amount of organic food.

The above contains parts from this blog.

About Ray Schilling

Dr. Ray Schilling born in Tübingen, Germany and Graduated from Eberhard-Karls-University Medical School, Tuebingen in 1971. Once Post-doctoral cancer research position holder at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto, is now a member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M).

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