How To Reduce Pesticide Residues

by Simona Manea
Last updated on 7 September 2019

How To Reduce Pesticide Residues

Pesticides are essential to keep pests away. Agencies all over the world, including the U.S. EPA, regulate their use. The quantity and type of pesticides are crucial for human health. Direct exposure to these substances is known to cause not only acute effects, such as nausea, dizziness, stomach aches, headaches, etc. but long-term consequences as well. Many studies have found an increased risk of cancer and neurologic and reproductive issues. The main problem is that pesticides, no matter how useful they are, pose a threat to people's health. Hence the reason for the popularity of organic produce.

Some pesticides are more toxic than others, but their presence should be limited as much as possible.

Nowadays, farmers use herbicides, insecticides, antimicrobials, fungicides, and others. These are harmful to both workers and consumers, especially when controlling their use is not as effective as it should be.

However, one can reduce pesticide residues by following the tips below.

People are strongly encouraged to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables. Sticking to the same product will expose the consumer to a higher amount of the same type of pesticide.

Moreover, they should be thoroughly washed under running water rather than in a bowl. Soaking or dunking produce will not help eliminate the same amount of harmful substances and bacteria.

Drying the fruits and vegetables with a paper towel or a clean cloth whenever possible is another helpful method, which helps reduce exposure to these substances.

Last but not least, peeling and removing the outer layers are highly recommended. 

When it comes to meat, poultry, and fish, there are few things which can help. The main one is to try and stick to organic; this applies to all foods. Apart from this, removing the skin and fat is necessary to minimize exposure to pesticides which reside in the fatty parts (it is also healthier). Also, limit or eliminate the consumption of farmed fish.

The last useful tip is consuming products which are less likely to be contaminated. For example, avocados are among the cleanest fruits. The Environmental Working Group found pesticides in only 1 % out of 3000 pieces. They are also known for being rich in essential healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Also, cabbage, onions, asparagus, eggplants, sweet peas, and mushrooms are cleaner veggies than leafy greens. As for fruits, pineapple, mangos, kiwis, papayas, cantaloupe, and grapefruit, are a better option. All these foods have plenty of nutrients and are safer than those which attract more pests.