Saturday, June 23, 2012

"Healthy Fruits & Vegetables"? - With Qualifications!

In an earlier blog I highlighted for readers the nature of the Cancer-Industrial Complex in this country and how it operates to place blame for cancers on individuals as opposed to the corporate complex responsible for generating several billion tons of toxic effluent each year. See, e.g.

In addition, I pointed out that many of the biggest cancer (chemo, etc.) drug producers are also among the largest volume chemical dumpers. What's not to love? They get to generate the cancer- causing agents, then get paid for treating them via the "chemo" and other drugs produced! One of the biggest cancer drug producers - Astra Zeneca- also produces acetochlor, one of the most toxic herbicides around. (See also my earlier blog:

Now, we are all informed all the time that we best chuck all those burgers, fries, tacos and Doritos for "healthy fare" - for example getting school lunches to replace their Sloppy Joes and fries with applies, straw berries and celery and the like. These items are supposed to make for less obese, healthier youngsters. But is it so simple?  The recent revelations that a host of fruits and veggies are actually laden with toxic chemicals bids us to reconsider. Not necessarily the consumption of these healthy items, but the particular sources or venues by which they are acquired.

Tests recently done by the Environmental Working Group of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture have actually ranked 53 fruits and vegetables by amount and frequency of pesticide-herbicide contamination. Those who want to avoid cancer - whether of the liver, pancreas, kidneys, colon, breast or prostate - therefore need to pay attention.


Apples : Of every 10 apples sampled by the working group, nine were found to have traces of the fungicide thiabendazole, a known carcinogen. Eight others disclosed the presence of diphenylamine, linked to bladder tumors. The working group also found 40 other carcinogens most from pesticides applied to apples bought at most groceries.  In addition, the working group found: hormone disruptors, neurotoxins and developmental toxins (for more details on their nature, check the previous blog link)

Celery:  An average of 64 pesticides were counted on each celery stalk. The carcinogens included: chlorantranilprole - used to kill moths and caterpillars by causing muscles to contract. Also, Spinosad, a deadly pesticide is used on every celery stalk. 50 % of the samples also were found to contain methoxyfenozide.

Strawberries: One of every two was found to contain the fungicide captan, a probable pancreatic carcinogen. Also, often cited is the fungicide pyraclostrobin.

Peaches: Carry an average of 62 pesticides, including fludioxonil which targets liver and kidneys for cancers. 30% of peach samples tested were also found to contain iprodione (a bowel and liver cancer carcinogen) and phosmet which targets the nervous and reproductive system of humans (as well as insects).

Grapes: Up to 34 pesticides were detected on (Chilean) grapes. Of every 10 tested, 3 were found to harbor the fungicide cyprodinil - while 1 in 5 tested bore the neurotoxin imidacloprid.

Blueberries: Have long been touted as a great source of anti-oxidants and for heart health. But the working group assay found that 3 in 10 contain the fungicides boscalid and pyraclostrobin, as well as 52 other pesticides.

What is a person to do, who wants more than burgers, steaks, mashed potatoes and fries?

If you can afford it, the best option is to purchase all the above organically grown.  This ensures you're not ingesting massive amounts of carcinogens (especially if you eat lots of fruit each day like my sister-in-law Krimhilde) and hence putting yourself at risk for a future bout with chemo, surgery and the well as constant tests to see if your cancer's in remission or not!

The other alternative is to be pro-active, for example, assiduously washing all conventionally grown fruits (e.g. grapes, apples, blueberries) with a solution of 1 part mild liquid dish detergent to 20 parts water - then drying them off with a paper towel. The presence of the detergent breaks up the chemicals and allows them to be more easily removed. In the case of peaches, of course, one can cut off the skin with a knife, but I still tend to wash the outside skin before doing so.

Another option is to select fruits, veggies that are conventionally grown but contain far less pesticides- herbicides. This lot includes:

- Sweet corn

- Avocados

- Asparagus

- Cabbage

- Mangoes

- Eggplant

- Watermelon

The main thing here is to be aware, and not allow yourself to be cancer-toxified unncessarily.

Healthy eating!


Anon. said...

People I know who do residue analyses say that 'organic' foods have similar quantities and varieties of pesticides as conventional ones. Sorry I do not have any published source.

Copernicus said...

As I understand it, from my FDA -USDA etc. contacts, the thresholds are much more stringent in the case of the organic food vis-a-vis the non-organic. For example, the farmer or agri concern must not have used chlordane or dioxin on said crops and any residue that does exist must be on the order of 1/100 th what exists on the comparable non-organic variety.

This is why if one is going to eat lots of fruits and veggies it's better to obtain them from an organic produce-source.