Quantcast

Pesticides Commonly Found on U.S. Produce Raise Flags for European Food Regulators

Food

The decision by Europe’s top food safety agency to call for new restrictions on two pesticides common on conventionally-grown U.S. produce because they “may affect the developing human nervous system” in young children underscores the danger of reliance on pesticides, Environmental Working Group (EWG) said today.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The two chemicals, acetamiprid and imidacloprid, are from the neonicotinoid family of pesticides believed contribute to the widespread death of honeybee colonies.

In its latest round of testing, released earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) detected residues of both these neurotoxic pesticides on a number of conventional fruits and vegetables, including apples, baby food pears, lettuce and sweet bell peppers.

“American parents should be outraged. For years, children in the U.S. have been eating foods contaminated with these two pesticides even though there was little or no research to prove that they wouldn’t harm children’s health,” said Ken Cook, EWG’s co-founder and President.

“This latest news out of the European Union is precisely why EWG issues its annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, because many of these chemicals that were once thought to be safe turn out later to present a potential risk to people, particularly kids.”

Between 2006 and 2011, USDA detected imidacloprid on roughly 22 percent of the conventionally grown produce samples it tested. Some of the food items where the pesticide was detected most often are:

  • Broccoli (60 percent)
  • Cauliflower (59 percent)
  • Grapes (51 percent)
  • Spinach (48 percent)
  • Lettuce (34 percent)
  • Potatoes (33 percent)
  • Sweet bell peppers (32 percent)
  • Cherry tomatoes (21 percent)
  • Apples (20 percent)

During the same period USDA detected acetamiprid on 10 percent of produce samples.

The foods where the pesticide was detected most frequently include:

  • Summer squash—zucchini and yellow squash (51 percent)
  • Apples (29 percent)
  • Pears (27 percent)
  • Celery (19 percent)
  • Collard greens (17 percent)
  • Strawberries (13 percent)
  •  In 2010 and 2011, USDA detected acetamiprid on more than 25 percent of pears used to make baby food.

“For parents who have been able to follow the old adage, ‘don’t panic, buy organic,’ this news from European regulators and USDA laboratories is further reason to justify the value of their investment in their children’s health,” Cook said.

Visit EcoWatch’s FOOD page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A new report spotlights a U.N. estimate that at least 275 million people rely on healthy coral reefs. A sea turtle near the Heron Island in the Great Barrier Reef is seen above. THE OCEAN AGENCY / XL CATLIN SEAVIEW SURVEY

By Jessica Corbett

In a new report about how the world's coral reefs face "the combined threats of climate change, pollution, and overfishing" — endangering the future of marine biodiversity — a London-based nonprofit calls for greater global efforts to end the climate crisis and ensure the survival of these vital underwater ecosystems.

Read More
Half of the extracted resources used were sand, clay, gravel and cement, seen above, for building, along with the other minerals that produce fertilizer. Cavan Images / Cavan / Getty Images

The world is using up more and more resources and global recycling is falling. That's the grim takeaway from a new report by the Circle Economy think tank, which found that the world used up more than 110 billion tons, or 100.6 billion metric tons, of natural resources, as Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.

Read More
Sponsored

By Gero Rueter

Heating with coal, oil and natural gas accounts for around a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. But that's something we can change, says Wolfgang Feist, founder of the Passive House Institute in the western German city of Darmstadt.

Read More
Researchers estimate that 142,000 people died due to drug use in 2016. Markus Spiske / Unsplash

By George Citroner

  • Recent research finds that official government figures may be underestimating drug deaths by half.
  • Researchers estimate that 142,000 people died due to drug use in 2016.
  • Drug use decreases life expectancy after age 15 by 1.4 years for men and by just under 1 year for women, on average.

Government records may be severely underreporting how many Americans die from drug use, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University.

Read More
Water coolers in front of shut-off water fountains at Center School in Stow, MA on Sept. 4, 2019 after elevated levels of PFAS were found in the water. David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe via Getty Images

In a new nationwide assessment of drinking water systems, the Environmental Working Group found that toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS are far more prevalent than previously thought.

Read More