There are many health risks associated with pesticides, from handling them to applying them to consuming their residue.  One of the most controversial is the notion that they persist in such low levels that there is minimal risk when they are consumed.  Many scientists disagree because there isn’t enough information to say for sure whether long-term, low-level consumption of pesticides on produce is safe.  In fact, recent studies have linked chronic, low-level pesticide exposure to hyperactivity in children, diabetes, and low sperm counts.

     Rinsing produce with tap water removes germs and also significantly reduces pesticide residues.  But some pesticide residue persists on produce after getting washed under the faucet.  A new study has found that a baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) wash can completely remove residues of two pesticides from the surface of apples.  The study’s authors said that, “Most pesticides are not stable at an alkaline pH, which breaks down the compounds and helps to wash them away.”

     We want to emphasize that the study confirmed only two pesticides out of the FIFTY which can be used on apples, so more tests are needed.  However the results are promising and the researchers advocate adding baking soda to the commercial washes and germicides now being used. 

     While organic fruits and vegetables—especially locally grown ones—are always preferable, families also have to take price and availability into account.  So it is good news that something this simple can help with at least one type of fruit and can be done at home by consumers.  Hopefully, more testing will now take place involving other types of produce.  Click on the photo or find the article here