7 Important Reasons to Choose Organic Apples
If you only buy one fruit that’s organic, make it an apple. Here are 7 important reasons why:
1) Conventionally grown apples have more pesticide residue on them than any other fruit or vegetable. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, more pesticides are found on apples than on any other fruit or vegetable: a whopping 36!! In one study, as many as seven chemicals were detected on a single apple.
2) Pesticides can make us sick. “With most (but not all) pesticides, the more a person is exposed to a particular substance, the greater the chance of harm,” warns the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. For example, “Two aspirin may get rid of your headache but an entire bottle will make you sick. And for some people, aspirin may be harmful even at low doses. The degree of harm depends on the chemical, the situation, and the person. The same is true of pesticides.” BeyondPesticides offers this useful list of the links between pesticide exposure and cancer, including cancers of the bladder, colon, brain and breast. The evidence also links pesticide exposure to ADHD, neurological problems, birth defects, fetal death and neurodevelopmental disorders.
3) Pesticides can make farm workers sick. California’s Pesticide Regulation Department notes that people can be exposed to pesticides in three ways: by breathing it, by getting it into their mouths or digestive tract and by coming into contact with their skin or eyes. Acute (immediate) health effects of pesticide exposure include rash, eye irritation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and headaches, reports FarmWorkerJustice.org. More serious acute effects include difficulty breathing, seizures, loss of consciousness and death. Chronic (long-term) effects can result in cancer, neurological disorders, hormonal and reproductive health problems, birth defects and infertility. Even low levels of pesticide exposure over time can lead to these chronic health effects, says the non-profit group.
4) Pesticides harm fish, birds and biodiversity. Pesticides used in managing orchards may harm wildlife directly or indirectly, reports North Carolina State University. Wildlife can become sick or die when they are exposed to highly toxic agrichemicals. Some animals are exposed to pesticides when they eat the residues on plants and in insects. Eggs and young birds in nests may be exposed during spraying operations. Wildlife sickened by pesticides may neglect their young, abandon their nests and become more susceptible to predation and disease. Those are the direct consequences of pesticide contamination. Pesticides also indirectly affect wildlife in several ways. For example, ”insecticides that drift into a stream can kill aquatic invertebrates and reduce food supplies for ducks or fish,” says NCSU. Herbicides intended to suppress weeds may inadvertently drift into wildlife habitats and reduce plants that animals rely on for food.
5) Non-organic apples are aiding the spread of GMOs into our food system. The USDA has given permission to one fruit company to market two varieties of GMO apples, reports Environmental Working Group, which has put apples on the top of its Dirty Dozen list of non-organic fruits and veggies. The apples are “designed” not to turn brown. However, they may require more pesticides to grow. Say “no” to GMOs, including apples.
6) Buying organic apples creates a habit for buying other organic food. Organic apples provide a great “gateway” into organic eating. They are widely available, affordable and can help demonstrate to the doubters that organic food tastes just as delicious as conventionally grown food.
7) The more you buy organic, the more organic options you’ll have. Only about 6 percent of all apples grown in the U.S. are produced organically. However, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “While U.S. acreage and production of apples has declined in recent years, consumer demand has spurred a fast-growing organic apple sector.” The way you spend your money makes a difference. The more you demand and buy organic apples, the more organic apples will be grown.
* Buy organic apples in season, when they’re usually the same price as conventionally grown apples.
* Eat organic apples all year long by freezing, canning and drying them.
* Learn to tolerate imperfect apples! Some chemicals are applied to apples with one purpose only: so they will look perfect. Organic apples may have a little bruise here or there, or even a tiny bug bite. Of course, you don’t want to buy an apple you can’t eat. But if it’s just a small blemish? Eat around it, knowing every bite is safe and healthy.
* Wash all apples before eating them. You don’t need to use soap or one of those commercial food washes; just hold the fruit under running water and scrub lightly with some kind of scratchy pad you use only for washing fruit and veggies. This way, you can eat the apple peel, where nutrients and fiber reside.