Green Girl Sans Pesticides

In college, it can be difficult to eat in a healthy way. You walk into the dining hall and you see pizza, pasta, grilled cheese, ice cream, cake, doughnuts, sugary cereal. All tempting, all unhealthy. So you might look around for something to balance out all of that fat, sugar and carbs. Aha! You see crates of apples, oranges, and bananas! You grab a few, eat one with your lunch, and save the rest for healthy snacks in your dorm room.

Or, if you have an early class, you might save an apple for when you wake up. Maybe you have some peanut butter in your fridge to go with it. Personally, I have almond butter and apple if Iím running late in the morning.

I feel as though Iíve been eating especially unhealthily recently, so Iíve upped my fruit intake. It’s perfect, because when I eat more fruit, I feel healthier and am less hungry for junk food. The other day, though, I grabbed an apple from the dining hall and chomped in, excited for my healthy fix, only to taste a grossly acidic and waxy film on the appleís skin.

I spat it out as quickly as possible and rinsed my mouth; I did not want pesticides, something I grew up fearing like the devil, in my system.

So fruits are supposed to be healthy, but if they have been sprayed with pesticides, the likelihood is that theyíre not. Pesticides are one of the worst things that can be put into your body; we couldnít live near a farm growing up because the mere smell of them would make my mom sick. From that I knew that they couldnít be good. Whatís really scary, though, is the possible effects on your body.

For example: 2,4-d, one of the most common herbicides, may easily be on your apple, from spraying around the tree. So what does that mean? Well. It means a high possibility of reproductive and endocrine disruption, cancer, abnormal sperm in men, and lymphoma. Other pesticides pose the threat of leukemia, brain and other cancers, decreased fertility, and immune system suppression, in addition to the above dangers.

A recent study on pesticides and children, those most susceptible to their dangers, shows that more than 1 million children under age 5 consume a dangerous amount of organophosphates (insecticides) every day. These insecticides can cause severe damage to their brain and nervous system because of the delicate nature of their developing bodies. Many fruits on the market
(particularly apples, grapes, and peaches) are sprayed with doses of pesticides exceeding the EPAís limits and are consumed by people
in doses 10 times higher than what is considered ďsafe.”

So please, make sure that when you grab that piece of fruit, it is listed as organic. (And by the way, the apple waxes arenít necessarily toxic, but an indicator that the fruit is most likely non-organic.) Itís worth it.

Note to self: Grabbing an apple isnít always a healthy option.

Lily Berthold-Bond grew up in a chemical-free zone and has struggled her whole life to understand and accept this non-commercial lifestyle. Now a freshman at Tufts University, she has embraced her green life and hopes to share its possibilities with the rest of her generation.


Asahi P.
Asahi P.9 years ago

I'm an aspiring raw foodist, and don't really have money to buy all organic fruits and veggies. I try to buy organic on things with soft skins (mango) or skins that you typically eat (like most veggies and in this story's case, apples), but it's hard because I'm on a grocery budget with people who don't care.
Also, organic is not an option at our ghetto grocery stores. There are no signs differing any organic from nonorganic veggies because everyone will just go for the cheaper option.

Christa Swanson
Roberta Swanson9 years ago

I used to have a hard time spending the extra money to buy organic fruit. But after having to throw out conventionally grown apples several times because they were mealy and had no flavor, I finally switched to organic. So, for me, it's not only a matter of health (which is very important) but a question of taste and even economics. There's no savings when you have to throw food out.

Lyra J.
Lyra J9 years ago

It has been proven that organic farming yields more food than conventional farming. Why haven't the farmers figured this out?

Each year, my family plants a vegetable garden. Our plot is about 100 square feet. Planting season is short here, but our crops still yield more than we can eat. We give a lot of tomatoes and zucchini to our neighbors.

The only fertilizer we use is Alaska Brand fertilizer which is specially formulated for the different stages of plant development. You can also buy individual ingredients and make your own fertilizers.

To find out more about this and other ways in which you can support a sustainable future, please visit

Peace, Love and Light,