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Report: Free School Fruit Can Contain More Pesticides Than Store Bought

In the wake of findings that free fruits and vegetables provided at elementary schools in Great Britain have pesticide residues on them, Pesticide Action Network (PAN) is urging the government to distribute only organic produce, The Guardian reports. While government officials say there’s nothing to worry about, PAN insists it’s better to be safe than sorry, as children could be quite vulnerable to the combined effects of pesticide exposures.

It’s wonderful that schools are going to the effort of providing fresh, raw foods to children’s diets, but I agree: Eating organic is one of the best ways to lower your overall pesticide burden. The problems with insecticides, fungicides and herbicides are many. They not only can disrupt hormones but can disturb your nervous system, and can even be carcinogenic. This is why the Environmental Working Group (EWG) comes out with its “Dirty Dozen” list each year, naming the top 12 most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables. Strawberries usually top the list, but peaches, celery, tomatoes and spinach are also on there.

EWG’s “Clean 15” includes avocados, mangos, asparagus, honeydew and cantaloupe, just to name a few. If you need reassurance that eating organic is the way to go, a report from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has confirmed it. The truth is pesticides ARE harming our children’s brains.

Eating organic has also been found to be healthier all-around, with one study finding that organically grown foods contain “significantly” higher antioxidants than the conventionally grown variety. Additionally, organic fruit and vegetable consumption may up your antioxidant intake by 20 percent to 40 percent. Organic strawberries, for instance, have more nutrients and antioxidants than conventionally grown, and organic tomatoes contain 50 percent more vitamin C and had a 139 percent higher total phenolic content.
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