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Organic apples reduce harmful pesticide exposure for kids

Another new study links pesticides commonly used on apples, a kid favorite, to abnormalities in the developing brain. Here's why apples are the most important organic purchase you can make for your kids.

When I read news this week of yet another study about the negative health effects of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on children, as a mother, I got mad. As a New Hope Natural Media editor, I want to urge retailers out there to step up efforts to educate shoppers about why organic apples are the No. 1 organic buy to make for their family.

The study found that prenatal exposure to the organophosphate (OP) pesticide—now banned for residential use but still widely used on many crops—may be linked with abnormal changes in the cortex of a child’s developing brain. Other recent studies show that exposure to chlorpyrifos in the womb and early childhood may be linked with lowered IQ and increased incidence of ADHD. 

A few more persuasive facts:

  • Apples are one of the top fruits consumed by U.S. children
     
  • Conventional apples are No. 1 on EWG’s Dirty Dozen; 98 percent of apples tested had pesticides.
     
  • Conventional applesauce, another kid favorite, retains much higher residues of several pesticides on average than organic applesauce.
     
  • Even officially allowable levels of OPs may harm humans, according to recent studies.
     
  • Apples are also frequently sprayed with Paraquat, a pesticide that may have a link to Parkinson’s disease.
     
  • The health of families in agricultural communities is directly affected by either doing pesticide spraying, or by runoff or drift.

I won’t say it doesn’t pain me to spend as much as $2.99/lb on organic Honeycrisps at certain times of year. But the pleasure of savoring their clean, wholesome, juicy crunch without worrying about ingesting poisons is truly priceless. (Plus, if I’m feeling thrifty, I can choose the cheaper bagged organic apples.)

Retailers, you know your shoppers best, but if I worked in your produce section, I'd be making posters highlighting great reasons to buy organic apples—and slicing up a few Honeycrisps to seal the deal.

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