June 29th, 2011
At a Kroger grocery store today my cashier asked me, “What’s the difference between organic and regular?”
I explained that organic fruits and vegetables are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides. I also told her that some foods like lettuce and strawberries retain more pesticide residue than certain foods like pineapples or watermelon. (Organic meat and dairy are topics for another day.) I also talked a bit about the effects of pesticides on wildlife and how pesticides end up in water.
Then my cashier said that a lot of people are buying organic and she wants to try it too. I found her statement rather awesome considering I wasn’t at a fancy health food store like Whole Foods.
So, in case you’re also wondering why you should choose organic, here are some good reasons:
- In studies, pesticide exposure has been linked to birth defects, prostate cancer, childhood cancer, neurological damage and even possibly the early onset of Parkinson’s disease. (source: NRDC)
- Organic is also better for the earth. Research indicates that if 434 million acres of cropland in the United States were switched to organic growing practices, the carbon dioxide savings would be like eliminating 217 million cars. (source: The Rodale Institute, OTA)
- Buying organic supports farmers who use eco-friendly growing practices.
- When you buy certified organic food, it’s been inspected by third-party independent groups. Certified organic growers adhere to strict guidelines for hygienic and safe food production. Despite rumors, no reputable studies have shown that conventionally grown food is safer than organically grown food. (source: OTA)
- Pesticides may contaminate groundwater, which is used for drinking water by around 50 percent of the population of the U.S. (source: USGS)
- Pesticides can harm or kill wildlife when creatures consume contaminated food or water, breathe pesticides, or absorb pesticides through their skin. (source: NDSU)
If you can’t buy everything organic, at least buy organic when it comes to foods that are on the 2011 Dirty Dozen list for containing the most pesticides:
- Nectarines (imported)
- Grapes (imported)
- Sweet bell peppers
- Blueberries (domestic)
- Kale/collard greens
Foods on EWG’s Clean 15 list have the lowest amounts of pesticides:
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Cantaloupe (domestic)
- Sweet potatoes
Which foods do you try to always buy organic?
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