Among all foods, some are much more affected by pesticides and other toxins than others. Asparagus, for example, has very little difference between the commercial variety and the organic – although the flavor of the organic might be richer due to the more ideal growing conditions. But others fruits and vegetables contain heavy concentrations of pesticides.
Your child at his youngest is being exposed to the same pesticides as adults as the vegetables and fruit used in pureed baby foods are just as contaminated as the ones on the supermarket shelves. In 1995, a study was done on three major brands of baby food and it was discovered that sixteen pesticides were found in half of the samples.
According to a 1995 EWG study, strawberries are the most contaminated fruit in the United States. A single acre of strawberries can receive 500 pounds of pesticides. Worse, in the off-season, strawberries are brought in from outside the country where pesticide restrictions are even more lenient.
Again, in baby foods, rice is almost always a primary ingredient as there are few allergies to rice unlike other grains. Unfortunately, one major area where commercial rice is grown, Sacramento River Valley in California, has used so many types of pesticides in production, the ground water has become contaminated.
We are told to eat eleven servings of grains a day. However past studies have discovered illegal pesticides in General Mill’s oat cereal, Cheerios, and at least one pesticide in 91% of the wheat tested in a separate study. Use of pesticides on grain is widespread in most commercial organizations.
The non-nursing baby and young children have a large percentage of their diet comprised of milk. Many dairies, however, inject their cows with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), a genetically engineered hormone used to boost milk production. Antibiotics are also heavily used which can be passed through milk to create problems in all milk drinkers including resistance to the typical levels of antibiotics used to cure common infections.
Foods made using processed corn such as popcorn and corn chips are among the top fifteen items likely to expose children to dangerous pesticides. As these are favorites of most children for snacks, they should be easily swapped with the organic variety.
The favorite food of many babies and adults alike is likely to contain benomyl which is linked to birth defects and chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxin. Costa Rica is a major exporter of bananas to the United States. In that country, bananas account for only 5% of farmland, but use 35% of the country’s pesticides.
Other Fruits and Vegetables
Pesticides have also been discovered and documented in green beans, apples, peaches, nectarines, kiwi fruit, grapes and raisins. Studies have been done on both the fruit or vegetable found in the market and the contamination has been found in baby food samples as well.